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The Spirit of the Holy One in the Koran

October 22, 2017 Leave a comment

There is a phrase that occurs four times in the Koran. It is usually translated as “the Holy Spirit” or “the holy spirit.” Sahih International translates the phrase as “the Pure Spirit.” Literally, it says either “the spirit of the Holy One” or “the Spirit of the Holy One.” If the word, “spirit,” begins with a capital S, then this phrase is referring to the Third Person of the Trinity. I am going to provide my opinion on the meaning of this phrase in each of the four verses where it occurs in the Koran.

First of all, I need to provide some background detail. In the Book of Tobit, a book that is accepted by Orthodox Christians as Holy Scripture and a revelation from Allah as well as by Muhammad (Koran 29:46), the Archangel Raphael says:

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One. (Tobit 12:15, KJV)

There are seven archangels. Three are mentioned in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Only two of them are mentioned in the Koran: Michael and Gabriel. (See Koran 2:98.) Uriel and Salathiel are mentioned in an apocryphal book. The names of the other two are Jegudiel and Barachiel. Their names have been transmitted by tradition.

In the Bible, it says that angels are spirits.

And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” …Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:7,14, NKJV)

God is called the Holy One in both the Bible and the Koran.

He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). (Koran 59:23, Pickthall)

All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise. (Koran 62:1, Pickthall)

Compare Isaiah 43:3,15; 45:11. We have already seen in the Book of Tobit where the Archangel Raphael called God the Holy One. There are several other instances in the Bible where God is called the Holy One.

St. Peter called Jesus the Holy One.

But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14,15, NKJV)

Angels appeared several times during Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth, but only a few such instances were recorded in the Gospels.

And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51, NKJV)

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:11, NKJV)

And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:13, NKJV)

The first occurence where this phrase appears is in Koran 2:87. Here, it says:

And verily We [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit]  gave unto Moses the Scripture and We [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We [the Father and the Holy Spirit] gave unto Jesus, Son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and We [the Father and the Holy Spirit] supported Him with the holy spirit [the spirit of the Holy One]. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay? (Koran 2:87, Pickthall)

The Arabic words translated as “with the holy spirit” by Pickthall are birūḥi al-qudusi. I think that these words are best translated as “the spirit of the Holy One.” I think that here in this verse “the spirit of the Holy One” is an angel and this might be a reference to this passage in St. Luke’s Gospel.

Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. (Luke 22:43, NKJV)

This verse and Luke 22:44 do not appear in some Greek and Latin manuscripts. St. Hillary of Poitiers (300-367) was aware of this. However, he commented on this passage in his writings.

St. Ambrose (340-397), St. Jerome (345-420), and Blessed Augustine of Hippo (354-430) cited this passage from St. Luke’s Gospel in their writings. Tatian (110-172) must have seen these verses in some second and possibly first century manuscripts because The Diatessaron, which Tatian wrote, mentions this incident in Christ’s life.

The next occurence of this phrase is in Koran 2:253.

Of those messengers, some of whom We [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] have caused to excel others, and of whom there are some unto whom Allah spake, while some of them He [the Father] exalted (above others) in degree; and We [the Father and the Holy Spirit] gave Jesus, Son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) and We [the Father and the Holy Spirit] supported Him with the holy Spirit [the spirit of the Holy One]. And if Allah had so willed it, those who followed after them would not have fought one with another after the clear proofs had come unto them. But they differed, some of them believing and some disbelieving. And if Allah had so willed it, they would not have fought one with another; but Allah doeth what He will. (Koran 2:253, Pickthall)

This verse like Koran 2:87 is probably talking about the angel who strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If the angel is one of the seven archangels that goes in and out before the Holy One (Tobit 12:15), then it is most probably the Archangel Raphael. He assists in healing people. (Read the Book of Tobit.) The Archangel Gabriel’s mission is to proclaim glad tidings and reveal prophecy. (See Daniel 9 and Luke 1:26-38.)

The  third occurrence in the Koran is in Koran 5:110.

When Allah saith: O Jesus, Son of Mary! Remember My favour [the Father’s favour] unto Thee and unto Thy mother; how I [Allah the Father] strengthened Thee with the Holy Spirit [the Spirit of the Holy One], so that Thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I [Allah the Father] taught Thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how Thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission [the Father’s permission], and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission [the Father’s permission], and Thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission [the  Father’s permission]; and how Thou didst raise the dead by My permission [the Father’s permission]; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) Thee when Thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic. (Koran 5:110, Pickthall)

Here, the words clearly refer to the Third Person of the Trinity. The incident about Jesus speaking in the cradle is mentioned in an apocryphal gospel. It is possible that this may have actually occurred. The miracle would be illustrating that Jesus is the Incarnate Word of Allah. He speaks even as a baby. Not all of the miracles that Jesus performed are recorded in the four Gospels. (See John 20:30; 21:25.) The creation of a bird out of clay is another miracle mentioned in an apocryphal Gospel. The purpose of the miracle is to illustrate that Jesus is our Creator. When it says that the Father taught Jesus, this is not contrary to the teachings in the Gospels.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52, NKJV)

I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him. (John 8:26, NKJV)

But as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (John 8:28, NKJV)

I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father. (John 8:38, NKJV)

In the seventh chapter of St. John’s Gospel, it says:

Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” (John 7:14,15, NKJV)

As God, Jesus knows everything.

His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” (John 16:29,30, NKJV)

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” (John 21:17, NKJV)

As Man, He continues to learn. The divine nature which is omniscient is joined together without separation, without division, without mixture, and WITHOUT CHANGE in one Person to His human nature which still retains the human properties of learning. His divine nature enriched His human nature.

As far as Him having permission from Allah the Father, He would, of course have His Father’s permission. He said:

Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19, NKJV)

and:

And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. (John 8:29, NKJV)

In the Book of Acts, it is recorded that St. Peter said:

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all — that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:36-38, NKJV)

Here, St. Peter is talking about the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus at His baptism. (See Matthew 3:16,17.) The words in Koran 5:110 must be talking about another activity of the Holy Spirit during Jesus’ infancy. Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father (Matthew 10:20; Romans 8:11) and the Spirit of the Son. St. Paul called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9) and “the Spirit of His Son” (Galatians 4:6). So, the Holy Spirit was already with Jesus during His infancy. Moreover, in St. Luke’s Gospel, it is recorded that the Archangel Gabriel said to Mary:

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35, NKJV)

The Holy Spirit was with Jesus, therefore, from the moment of conception in His mother’s Fallopian tube.

All Three Persons of the Trinity share the same essence. They occupy the same space and are omnipresent. The terminology such as, strengthened with the Spirit of the Holy One, and the Holy Spirit will come and upon you, are speaking about activities of the Deity. God is in all places at all times. However, Jesus’ human nature is not omnipresent. His human nature was joined inseparably to His divine nature, without division, without mixture, and WITHOUT CHANGE.

The last occurrence of this phrase is in the 16th surah of the Koran.

Say: The Holy Spirit [the Spirit of the Holy One, or the spirit of the Holy One] hath delivered 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). (Koran 16:102, Pickthall)

There are two possible interpretations of the Arabic words, rūḥu al-qudusi. The words either mean the Spirit of the Holy One, that is, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, or the spirit of the Holy One, more specifically referring to the Archangel Gabriel.

This verse in the New Testament gives support to the first interpretation.

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:21, NKJV)

If Muhammad was truly a prophet, then he spoke as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. The other possible interpretation finds support in this verse from the Koran.

Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allah’s leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers. (Koran 2:97, Pickthall)

In conclusion, the words, birūḥi al-qudusi, in Koran 2:87 and 2:253 refer to an angel, probably the Archangel Raphael. The same words in Koran 5:110 refer to the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. The words, rūḥu al-qudusi, in Koran 16:102 refer to either the Holy Spirit or the Archangel Gabriel.

To sum up, in Koran 2:87 and 2:253, the spirit of the Holy One is the angel who strengthened Jesus when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. This angel is probably the Archangel Raphael. In Koran 5:110, the Spirit of the Holy One is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. In Koran 16:102, rūḥu al-qudusi is either the Holy Spirit or the Archangel Gabriel.

 

 

 

 

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Who are the Muslims and What is Islam?

July 3, 2017 Leave a comment

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:17, NKJV)

Most people who read the title of this blog post will think that they already know the answer to this question. They would probably say, “Oh, those are the terrorists who kill innocent people.” They might say, “Oh, those are the people who practice that religion founded by Muhammad. They stone people to death for committing adultery.” They might say, “Oh, those are those people who pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan.” I, however, am going to provide a Koranic definition of Muslim and Islam in this blog post. The Koranic definition might be quite a shock to many non-Muslim readers, that is, to those readers who are not affiliated with any of the various, modern versions of Islam practiced today.

The Arabic word translated Muslim means one who submits. In the Koran, this word has a much broader meaning than the one that is typically used today.

Several of the Old Testament Saints and Prophets were called Muslims in the Koran. Noah was called a Muslim.

And recite to them the news of Noah, when he said to his people, “O my people, if my residence and my reminding of the signs of Allah has become burdensome upon you – then I have relied upon Allah. So resolve upon your plan and [call upon] your associates. Then let not your plan be obscure to you. Then carry it out upon me and do not give me respite. And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:71,72, Sahih International)

In Genesis, we can read about the story of Noah building an ark to save his household from the flood and how God saved him and his household from it. (Genesis 6:8-9:29) In the New Testament, it says that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.” (II Peter 2:5) In Genesis, it says that Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) and “walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)

Abraham and Ishmael were called Muslims.

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Koran 2:127,128, Sahih International)

No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. (Koran 3:67, Arberry)

Many Muslims (in the modern day Islamic sense) have been circumcised. However, Noah was a Muslim before God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was a monotheist. He received the commandment to be circumcised. (Genesis 17:9-14) His son Ishmael was circumcised. (Genesis 17:23,25) Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his offspring and a seal of the righteousness that he had as a result of his faith in God. (Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11) The sign and seal of this covenant has been replaced by two Sacraments in the Church: baptism (Colossians 2:11,12) and chrismation. (II Corinthians 1:21,22; I John 2:20,27; Revelation 7:3; 9:4) Baptism is the sign of the New Covenant instituted by Christ. Chrismation is the seal of the New Covenant.

Abraham was righteous before God before receiving the covenant of circumcision. (Genesis 15:6)

Lot and his household were Muslims.

So We brought out whoever was in the cities of the believers. And We found not within them other than a [single] house of Muslims. (Koran 51:35,36, Sahih International)

Lot and his family left Abraham and dwelt in the plain of Jordan. (Genesis 13:8-13) The covenant of circumcision was not given to Lot. He was most likely uncircumcised. However, he was a Muslim. In the New Testament, it says that “righteous Lot” “was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” (II Peter 2:7)

Jacob and his children were Muslims.

When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.” And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac — one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:131-133, Sahih International)

Jacob’s son Joseph called himself a Muslim.

My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” (Koran 12:101, Sahih International)

The ancient Israelites were Muslims.

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims.” (Koran 10:84, Sahih International)

Pharaoh became a Muslim before he died in the Red Sea.

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when drowning overtook him, he said, “I believe that there is no Deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:90, Sahih International)

King Solomon and the people he governed were Muslims.

So when she arrived, it was said [to her], “Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.” [Solomon said], “And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims [in submission to Allah]. (Koran 27:42, Sahih International)

Jesus’ disciples were Muslims.

When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do Thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Koran 3:52, Yusuf Ali)

“And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, ‘We have faith, and do Thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims.‘” (Koran 5:111, Yusuf Ali)

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

St. James, the brother of Jesus, said:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NKJV)

This concept of doing the will of God and submitting to Him is found in the New  Testament. A Muslim is one who submits to God. That is the basic meaning of the Arabic word.

There are Jews and Christians, called in the Koran “People of the Scripture,” who are Muslims and they have never heard of or read the Koran before.

Those to whom We sent the Book before this, — they do believe in this (revelation): and when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will) from before this. (Koran 28:52,53, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran teaches that some of the Jinn are Muslims. (Koran 72:1,8,13,14) So, a Muslim does not have to be a human being.

The Koran gives some characteristics which distinguish Muslims from non-Muslims. Muslims believe in one God. They are monotheists. In the Koran, it says:

Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” (Koran 3:64, Yusuf Ali)

There were many different Christian sects during the time of Muhammad in the seventh century. There were Tritheists, Maryamites, Nestorians, Arians, Sabellians, Bitheists, and other heretical sects. The Trinitarian monotheists were the Orthodox Christians. The words in this verse from the Koran are directed toward one of the heretical sects who acknowledged the existence of more than one god, like the Tritheists and the Bitheists, for example.

Those who worship others in addition to the one Triune God are idolaters and not Muslims.

Nor could he order you to take the angels and prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelief after you had been Muslims? (Koran 3:80, Sahih International)

Asking angels and deceased prophets to pray for one is not idolatry. There is no more harm in asking for their prayers than to ask for the prayers of a living human. In the 21st Surah, it says:

Say, “It is only revealed to me that your God is but one God; so will you be Muslims [in submission to Him]?” (Koran 21:108, Sahih International)

Muhammad accepted the New Testament and all of the Old Testament books of the Orthodox Christians. (The Protestants adopted a smaller Old Testament canon in the 16th century. The larger canon was used during Muhammad’s time.) This verse from the 29th Surah provides evidence that Muhammad accepted the Bible and that there were monotheistic Christians in the seventh century.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

Muslims, not only believe in the existence of only one God, but also accept the Bible of Orthodox Christians as authoritative. Here is more evidence that Muslims are people who accept the Bible.

Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:136, Sahih International)

Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.” (Koran 3:84, Sahih International)

You cannot guide the straying blind. You can make no one listen except those who believe in Our revelations and are Muslims. (Koran 30:53, Muhammad Sarwar)

[To whom Allah will say], “O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve, [you] who believed in Our verses and were Muslims. (Koran 43:68,69, Sahih International)

Notice in Koran 43:68,69 that it God says, “My servants” and “Our verses.” This is more evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Koran. One God, three Persons. All of the above cited verses also teach that Muslims accept the Koran. “We believe in that which has been revealed to us.” (Koran 29:46) “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us.” (Koran 2:136; 3:84) The revelations and verses mentioned in Koran 30:53 and Koran 43:69 include the Koran. Here is more evidence from the Koran that Muslims are those who accept the Koran.

If they will not respond to you, know that God has sent it with His knowledge and that He is the only God. Will you then become Muslims?” (Koran 11:14, Muhammad Sarwar)

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:89, Yusuf Ali)

Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:102, Yusuf Ali)

And struggle for God as is His due, for He has chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment in your religion, being the creed of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims aforetime and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness against you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind. So perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and hold you fast to God; He is your Protector — an excellent Protector, an excellent Helper. (Koran 22:78, Arberry)

Of course, someone may already be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran. (Koran 28:52,53) Koran 22:78 says that God named people Muslims aforetime. That means that Jews and Orthodox Christians were Muslims before the revelation of the Koran.

Two Persons of the Deity are mentioned in Koran 16:102: the Holy Spirit and one other. The other Person could be either the Father or the Son. Look at these verses from St. John’s Gospel.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV)

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26, NKJV)

The Helper (in some translations, the Comforter) is the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) The Helper is also called the Spirit of truth. (John 15:26) So, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth are all different names for the Third Person of the Deity. Now look at this passage from the same Gospel.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15, NKJV)

There are some imams and Islamic scholars who are teaching that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel and the Spirit of Truth in the Gospel according to St. John is Muhammad. The Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Truth or the Helper, is the Third Person of the Deity. What the imams and Islamic scholars are teaching is not true.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Koran says that “the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth.” (Koran 16:102)

Some other characteristics of a Muslim are that he invites others to come to God.

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 41:33, Sahih International)

That above-mentioned verse also says that he does righteousness. These verses also teach that Muslims live righteously.

Indeed, for the righteous with their Lord are the Gardens of Pleasure. Then will We treat the Muslims like the criminals? (Koran 68:34,35, Sahih International)

A Muslim repents whenever he sins.

We have advised the human being to be kind to his parents; his mother bore him with hardship and delivered him while suffering a great deal of pain. The period in which his mother bore and weaned him lasted for thirty months. When he grew-up to manhood and became forty years old, he then said, “Lord, inspire me to give You thanks for the bounties You have granted to me and my parents, and to act righteously to please You. Lord, make my offspring virtuous. Lord I turn to you in repentance; I am a Muslim.” (Koran 46:15, Muhammad Sarwar)

This verse from the 33rd Surah contains more qualities of a Muslim.

For Muslim men and women, — for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, — for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Koran 33:35, Yusuf Ali)

Now, I will talk about what the Koran says about Islam.

Islam is derived from a tri-literal root s-l-m. Salaam means peace in Arabic, that is, the absence of conflict. Islam means submission. Islam is submission to God that results in peace with God. In the Third Surah, it says:

In the sight of God Islam is the religion. The People of the Book created differences in the matters (of religion) because of their hostility among themselves, only after knowledge had come to them. Let whoever denies the revelations of God know that the reckoning of God is swift. (Koran 3:19, Muhammad Sarwar)

One who has adopted the Koranic version of Islam has surrendered his will to do God’s will. Jesus told us we must do that. (Matthew 7:21) If we do not agree to do God’s will, then we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Koranic version of Islam also demands that we accept and believe all of God’s revelations — the Bible and the Koran. The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety. (Koran 5:48, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations from God.

Nothing has been said to you which was not said to the Messengers who lived before you. Your Lord is certainly All-forgiving, but stern in His retribution. (Koran 41:43, Muhammad Sarwar)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers of God.

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

So, there should be no problem with a Christian accepting the Koran. There are mistranslations of the Koran. I have already demonstrated that in  previous blogs. One example is translating the Arabic word which means “three” as Trinity in Koran 4:171. Many of the non-Christian translators have rendered their interpretation of the Koran thinking that they are refuting Christians. They do not understand any of the basic doctrines of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the two natures of Christ. I accept the Koran, but not the mistranslations of it. I believe that the Koran teaches Trinitarian monotheism.

Elsewhere in the Third Surah, it says:

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good). (Koran 3:85, Yusuf Ali)

Islam is merely submitting to the will of God like Jesus taught. Remember St. James the brother of Jesus said: “Submit to God.” (James 4:7) Jesus also said:

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46, NKJV)

Much of what one sees being practiced by modern Muslims is derived from the Sunnah — that massive collection of hearsay. Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers. He received no new revelations. (Koran 41:43; 46:9) The Sunnah contains a lot of innovations and novel teachings. Much of the Sunnah contradicts the Bible and the Koran. I have already illustrated how it contradicts those Holy Books in previous blogs.

The religion of Islam also demands that we observe the dietary laws. There are some foods that are haraam, that is, forbidden.

Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 5:3, Shakir)

These dietary restrictions are virtually identical to those in the New Testament. (See Acts 15:28,29.) The only difference is the addition of the requirement to abstain from pork. I believe that the reason this requirement was given was so that the Muslims would not offend the Jews living in Mecca. They were obeying St. Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 10:32,33. The first generation Muslims believed all of the Scripture. (Koran 3:119)

God makes it possible for someone to accept Islam, that is, surrender his will to do God’s will.

Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to heaven. So God lays abomination upon those who believe not. (Koran 6:125, Arberry)

St. Paul said:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13, NKJV)

God works in us to do His will. We must cooperate with Him and submit.

So, Muslims are people who have surrendered their wills to do God’s will. They believe the Bible and the Koran. Someone can be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran though. (Koran 28:52,53) They accept the New Testament dietary laws in Acts 15:28,29. They abstain from pork if necessary in order not to offend Jews. They do righteousness and repent. They acknowledge the existence of only one God and worship and serve Him only. They invite others to come to God and submit to Him. The concept of submitting to God in order to do His will is taught in the Bible. Both the Koran and the Bible agree that those who refuse to submit to God and do His will will not inherit the Kingdom of God and enter Paradise. (Matthew 7:21; Koran 3:85) All of the novelties practiced by modern Muslims today come from the Sunnah and not from the Koran. Muhammad received no new revelations from God was not an innovation among the messengers of God. There were Muslims in Old Testament times. Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, and King Solomon are examples of Old Testament Muslims. They surrendered their wills to do God’s will. Jesus’ disciples were also Muslims. They followed Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said that we must do the will of His Father in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. They did that. (Matthew 7:21)

 

 

 

 

 

The Trinity in the Koran

June 27, 2017 1 comment

I am a Trinitarian monotheist. I worship one God who exists in three hypostases. I have been reading the Koran for the past two or three years and studying it. I see the Trinity all throughout the Koran. There is even a “mathematical miracle” in the Koran which suggests that God is Triune. In this blog post, I want to talk more about the Trinity in the Koran. I have already talked about this subject in previous blogs.

The Mathematical Miracle

I went to corpus.quran.com on the internet and I discovered something fascinating about the number of times the Arabic word for three. It occurs 21 times in the Koran. 21 is 3 times 7. Seven is the number which symbolically represents perfection or completion. Three symbolically represents the Trinity. Each Person of the Trinity is totally and completely God, but is distinct from the other Two.  The mystery of the Trinity is that three wholes make one whole. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. So, this number, 21 being three sevens, represents symbolically the Trinity.

Here are all of the places in the Koran where the number “three” occurs. Classical Arabic is inflected more than English. So, there are more forms for nouns and adjectives than in English.

nom. masc. thalāthu 24:58
nom. masc. indef. thalāthun (no occurrence)
nom. fem. thalāthatu 65:4
nom. fem. indef. thalāthatun 4:171; 18:22
acc. masc. thalātha 4:3; 18:25; 19:10; 24:58; 35:1
acc. masc. indef. thalāthan (no occurrence)
acc. fem. thalāthata 2:228; 3:41; 11:65
acc. fem. indef. thalāthatan 56:7
gen. masc. thalāthi 77:30
gen. masc. indef. thalāthin 39:6
gen. fem. thalāthati 2:196; 3:124; 5:89; 9:118
gen. fem. indef. thalāthatin 5:73; 58:7

The nominative masculine indefinite and accusative masculine indefinite forms of the Arabic word for “three” do not appear in the Koran.

Faulty Knowledge of Islamic Scholars

The vast majority of Islamic scholars and imams misunderstand the doctrine of the Trinity. (There are Christian preachers who also do not seem to understand the doctrine very well, too.) This misunderstanding is clearly shown by some of the English interpretations of the Koran. Here are some examples of what I am saying. Koran 4:171 has been interpreted (not translated) in these ways.

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Koran 4:171, Yusuf Ali)

People of the Book, do not exceed the limits of devotion in your religion or say anything about God which is not the Truth. Jesus, son of Mary, is only a Messenger of God, His Word, and a spirit from Him whom He conveyed to Mary. So have faith in God and His Messengers. Do not say that there are three gods. It is better for you to stop believing in the Trinity. There is only One God. He is too glorious to give birth to a son. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God alone is a Sufficient Guardian for all. (Koran 4:171, Muhammad Sarwar)

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All­-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (Koran 4:171, Mohsin Khan)

O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of Allah and the fulfilment of His Word through Mary and a spirit ˹created by a command˺ from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers and do not say, “Trinity.” Stop! — for your own good. Allah is only One God. Glory be to Him! He is far above having a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs. (Koran 4:171, Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the Clear Quran)

People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and attribute to Allah nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah, and His command that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him (which led to Mary’s conception). So believe in Allah and in His Messengers, and do not say: (Allah is a) trinity. Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. Allah is indeed just one God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. Allah is sufficient for a guardian. (Koran 4:171, Abul Ala Maududi)

People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary, a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’- stop [this], that is better for you- God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. (Koran 4:171, Abdul Haleem)

Any Christian who picks up a copy of one of these English versions of  the Koran and reads this verse would be immediately turned off. All of the translators have mistranslated, or rather misinterpreted, this verse. The Arabic word translated Trinity in this verse is thalāthatun. It is the nominative feminine indefinite form of the Arabic word for “three.” This form of the Arabic word for “three” occurs in one other place in the Koran: Koran 18:22.

Here is Yusuf Ali’s translation of Koran 18:22. Notice that he did not translate thalāthatun as Trinity as he did in Koran 4:171.

(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, – doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: “My Lord knoweth best their number; It is but few that know their (real case).” Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers. (Koran 18:22, Yusuf Ali)

Koran 4:171 is talking about the heresy of Tritheism. John Philoponus and couple of deposed Orthodox Christian bishops taught this heresy in the sixth century.

Orthodox Christians do not worship three gods. They worship only one God. The first words of the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed are: “We believe in one God.”

Another mistranslation in Koran 4:171 is the words:

Subḥanahu an yakuna lahu waladun.

Subḥanahu means “Glory be to Him.” An yakuna means “that He should be.” Lahu means “for Him.” Waladun means “begotten Child” or “begotten Son.” Yusuf Ali translated these words: “Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son.” Muhammad Sarwar translated the words: “He is too glorious to give birth to a son.” The other translators rendered these words similarly. Arberry, who was not a Muslim, translated these words: “Glory be to Him — that He should have a Son!”

Of course, we Christians do not believe that God sexually begot a Son. The term “being begotten” should not be interpreted literally. It is an expression used in the Bible for the procession of the Son from the Father.

We believe that the Father has no origin and no beginning. We believe that the Son (also called the Word) has an origin but no beginning. Likewise, we believe that the Holy Spirit has an origin but no beginning.

All three Persons of the Trinity share the same essence. In the Divine Liturgy, we sing: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence and undivided.” By essence, I am talking about the substance of which God consists. There are many different substances in the universe. Plastic, iron, water, oxygen, and wood are examples of substances. The substance of which God consists is unknown and in fact unknowable. Created substances are knowable. The uncreated substance of God is unknowable.

I remember all of the hype about discovering the so-called “God particle” by physicists. Well, any particle of matter that the scientists discover is not the divine essence. It is impossible to design a scientific experiment which will lead to the discovery of the divine essence.

Another example of a mistranslation of the Arabic is in this verse translated by Yusuf Ali.

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is. (Koran 19:35, Yusuf Ali)

The word translated “beget” in this verse is yattakhida. It means “He should take.” This verse is talking about the adoptionist heresy taught by the Paulinianists and the Nestorians. Orthodox Christians do not believe the adoptionist heresy. I have already explained what we mean when we say that the Father begot the Son. It is theological language which should not be interpreted literally.

A Mystery

One thing we cannot do is explain everything. No matter how much we learn there will always be something that we do not know. In the Bible, it says:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, to do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, LXX)

God reveals things to us through His prophets, but He does not tell us everything. There are still those “secret things” which belong only to the Lord our God. The Koran teaches the same thing.

To Allah do belong the unseen (secrets) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him goeth back every affair (for decision): then worship Him, and put thy trust in Him: and thy Lord is not unmindful of aught that ye do. (Koran 11:123, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad did not even claim to know everything.

I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor claim I to be an angel. Nor yet do I say, of those whom your eyes do despise that Allah will not grant them (all) that is good: Allah knoweth best what is in their souls: I should, if I did, indeed be a wrong-doer. (Koran 11:31, Yusuf Ali)

It also says in the Koran that we cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except that which He allows.

Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great. (Koran 2:255, Shakir)

God is incomprehensible. Furthermore, His words are inexhaustible.

If all the trees in the earth were pens and the ocean, with seven more oceans, were ink still these could not suffice to record all the words of God. God is Majestic and All-wise. (Koran 31:27, Muhammad Sarwar)

There will always be something else that we can learn from God. We will never know God completely.

So, whenever we Orthodox Christians speak about the Trinity we are talking about a mystery. How can three wholes be one whole? How can 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 when speaking about the Trinity is a mystery.

The Transcendent Hyperdimensionality of God

God is personal. He is knowable, although His essence is unknowable. God is also transcendent. He transcends time and space. In the Church’s hymns He is said to be pre-eternal as well as eternal

Hyperdimensionality is the quality of have more than three dimensions. We are aware of three dimensions: height, width, and depth. Scientists and mathematicians have hypothesized the existence of more than three dimensions. The tessaract, for example is a four dimensional object.

“God is love.” (I John 4:8) There is a passage in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians which teaches the hyperdimensionality of God’s love.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19, NKJV)

We should not think that God is three dimensional. He may very well be infinitely dimensional.

Back now to the subject of God’s essence. If it were possible to divide the divine essence into infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three Persons of the Deity. Perhaps, each infinitesimal particle possesses infinite dimensionality. This concept further compounds the mystery of the Deity.

We cannot even begin to understand how a four dimensional object would function. An infinite dimensional being would be far beyond our abilities to comprehend.

Divine Permeation

God “fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23) The Divine Essence permeates everything, even our souls and bodies. So, we should have no trouble believing that the Divine Essence permeated Jesus’ soul and body. However, the Divine Essence does not only permeate His soul and body, but also belongs to Him, just as it belongs to the Father and the Spirit. The Divine Essence does not belong to me or you, but it does belong to Him. Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

He also said:

I and My Father are one. (John 10:30, NKJV)

We do not believe that Jesus is a hybrid of God and man in the same way that a mule is a hybrid of a horse and a donkey. The divine nature of Jesus is uncreated. The human nature of Jesus is created. The divine nature of Jesus permeates His human nature.

In Koran 4:171 it says:

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 [literally, cast] unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

In this verse, the divine and human natures of Jesus can be seen. As a human, He is the son of Mary and “only a messenger of Allah.” As God, He is Allah’s Word which He cast to Mary.

Actually, the Word of Allah already permeated Mary’s body and soul and He permeates every created thing in the universe and beyond. So, the casting of His Word to Mary is an activity of the Deity — another mystery.

Jesus told His disciples:

He who receives you receives Me, and He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV)

St. John the Theologian was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. (Matthew 10:2) He was also a Muslim. (Koran 3:52) He wrote:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3, NKJV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NKJV)

The Koran says:

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

and:

If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil. (Koran 5:66, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran requires that we believe the words of St. John the Theologian regarding Jesus. Jesus is the incarnate Word of Allah. The Word of Allah is Allah. All three Persons of the Trinity possess the same essence. They are one God, but three distinct Persons.

Jesus is not a partner with Allah. He is Allah. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are Allah, but only the Word is Jesus. The Father and the Holy Spirit are not Jesus. Two heresies are condemned in this passage of the Koran. The first heresy is the Sabellian heresy. The Sabellians taught that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are Jesus.

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. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

Each Person of the Trinity is Allah. Therefore, it is fitting for one Person of the Trinity to call another Person of the Trinity Allah. Each Person is worthy of worship as God. There is only one God. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. That is the Trinity math equation.

The second heresy is the Tritheist heresy. The Tritheists taught that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are three different gods which do not share the same essence.

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. (Koran 5:72,73, Pickthall)

Jesus, if you remember, said, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Some Koranic Proofs of the Trinitarian Dogma

In the 90th Surah, there is proof that God is a Trinity. It says:

Nay! I swear by this city. And you shall be made free from obligation in this city — and the begetter and whom He begot. Certainly We have created man to be in distress. (Koran 90:1-4, Shakir)

Muhammad followed the Koran. (Koran 6:50; 7:203; 10:15; 46:9) The Koran prohibits the swearing of oaths.

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if you ordered them, they would go forth [in Allah ‘s cause]. Say, “Do not swear. [Such] obedience is known. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with that which you do.” (Koran 24:53, Sahih International)

He also accepted the Scriptures of the Christians.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

Jesus told us not to swear oaths.

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37, NKJV)

Therefore, because Muhammad followed the Koran and the Scriptures of the Christians, he did not swear any oaths. The One swearing by the city in the passage from Koran 90 is the Holy Spirit. He swears by the New Jerusalem, the Father (the begetter), and the Son (the One whom the Father begot). The Holy Spirit says, “We [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] created man in distress.”

In the Koran, it teaches that Jesus is Allah.

O ye who believe! Be Allah’s helpers, even as Jesus Son of Mary said unto the disciples: Who are My helpers for Allah? They said: We are Allah’s helpers. (Koran 61:14, Pickthall)

Notice that Jesus’ disciples did not say, “We are Your helpers for Allah.” They said, “We are Allah’s helpers.” Jesus’ question was, “Who are My helpers for Allah?” The disciples called Jesus Allah.

In the 19th Surah, it says:

He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of Him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. (Koran 19:21, Pickthall)

Here, all three Persons of the Trinity are mentioned. In Arabic, there are dual and plural number second person and third person pronouns. There is no dual number first person pronoun. The plural form of the first person pronoun serves also as the dual number form. So, the pronouns we and us can refer to two or more persons. In the above cited text, We and Us refer to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is a “revelation for mankind.” He is the incarnate Word of Allah. He is a mercy from the Father and the Holy Spirit. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit sent Him. (See Isaiah 48:16; John 3:17; 5:37.)

Of course, as God Jesus was already present in this world. The sending of the Son by the Father and the Holy Spirit is an activity of the Deity — another mystery.

Abraham Petitions Allah

The Torah is a light and guidance for mankind. (Koran 6:91,92) In the Torah, there is a theophany — a manifestation of God. God reveals Himself to Abraham as three men or angels.

And God appeared to him by the oak of Mambre, as he sat by the door of his tent at noon. And he lifted up his eyes and beheld, and lo! three men stood before him; and having seen them he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and did obeisance to the ground. And he said, Lord, if indeed I have found grace in Thy sight, pass not by Thy servant. Let water now be brought, and let them wash Your feet, and do Ye refresh Yourselves under the tree. And I will bring bread, and Ye shall eat, and after this Ye shall depart on Your journey, on account of which refreshment Ye have turned aside to Your servant. And he said, So do, as thou hast said. (Genesis 18:1-5, LXX)

Notice that Abraham spoke to all three as if they were one.

Although God manifested Himself as those three men or angels, He is omnipresent. After the men departed, Abraham still stood in the presence of the Lord. He petitioned God not to destroy the whole  city if ten righteous were present in the city.

And the men having departed thence, came to Sodom; and Abraam was still standing before the Lord. And Abraam drew nigh and said, Wouldest Thou destroy the righteous with the wicked, and shall the righteous be as the wicked? Should there be fifty righteous in the city, wilt Thou destroy them? Wilt Thou not spare the whole place for the sake of the fifty righteous, if they be in it? By no means shalt Thou do as this thing is so as to destroy the righteous with the wicked, so the righteous shall be as the wicked: by no means. Thou that judgest the whole earth, shalt Thou not do right? And the Lord said, If there should be in Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole city, and the whole place for their sakes. And Abraam answered and said, Now I have begun to speak to my Lord, and I am earth and ashes. But if the fifty righteous should be diminished to forty-five, wilt Thou destroy the whole city because of the five wanting? And He said, I will not destroy it, if I should find there forty-five. And he continued to speak to Him still, and said, But if there should be found there forty? And He said, I will not destroy it for the forty’s sake. And he said, Will there be anything against me, Lord, if I shall speak? But if there be found there thirty? And He said, I will not destroy it for the thirty’s sake. And he said, Since I am able to speak to the Lord, what if there should be found there twenty? And He said, I will not destroy it, if I should find there twenty. And he said, Will there be anything against me, Lord, if I speak yet once? But if there should be found there ten? And He said, I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake. And the Lord departed, when He left off speaking to Abraam, and Abraam returned to his place. (Genesis 18:22-33, LXX)

God spared Lot and his two daughters. Lot’s wife would have been spared if she had not looked back at the city. (See Genesis 19:15-22.)

In the Koran, it says:

And when the awe departed from Abraham, and the glad news reached him, he pleaded with Us on behalf of the folk of Lot. (Koran 11:74, Pickthall)

Here is evidence of the Trinity. It says that Abraham pleaded with Us (that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) on behalf of the folk of Lot. Remember the theophany in the Torah — three angels, one for each Person of the Trinity.

So, the Koran teaches the Trinitarian dogma of Orthodox Christians. It does not teach the heresies of the Sabellians and the Tritheists. It does not teach the adoptionist heresy of the Nestorians and Paulinianists.

Aqidahs of Believers

July 8, 2016 Leave a comment

I remember when I used to visit various Protestant churches in my younger years that I would see various statements of faith. Many of these statements of faith contained affirmations of basic Christian doctrines like the existence of only one God and the Triune nature of God. They would say various things about the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, the last days, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, etc. Many of the non-denominational churches that I visited had statements of faith that were probably less than ten years old. That is to say, they were written very recently as compared to the doctrinal confessions of the Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. These statements of faith are called creeds. In Arabic, the word is aqidah. In the Koran, Orthodox Christians are called believers, but many Muslims are unfamiliar with the creeds of Orthodox Christians. I am going to discuss creeds here as they pertain to Muslims and Christians.

In the Koran, it says:

Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans – whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (Koran 2:62, Pickthall)

and in another surah:

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good). (Koran 3:85, Yusuf Ali)

These verses seemed to be contradicting each other, but actually they do not. One can be a Christian and be a Muslim. The word, Islam, in Koran 3:85 refers to a way of life and not a theology. Islam means submission, obedience, surrender, sincerity, and peace. A person who sincerely surrenders his life to God and strives to obey Him is practicing Islam. This is why the disciples of Jesus are called Muslims in the Koran.

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Koran 3:52, Yusuf Ali)

According to verse 2:62, Jews, Christians, and Sabeans who believe in God, the Last Day (that is, the Resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment), and do righteous deeds will not be eternally damned. The Jews and Christians in this verse are not those who have become members of the Muslim community. Otherwise, they would not be called Jews and Christians in this verse. The Sabaeans are probably people who believe in one God, but have no particular religious affiliation. That is the view of some Koranic commentators.

Verse 3:85 is actually teaching the same thing that Jesus taught in the Gospels.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

The disciples of Jesus were Muslims because they had surrendered their lives to God. A Muslim is one who has surrendered to God.

Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” (Matthew 19:27, NKJV)

The Orthodox Christians are called believers in two surahs: Surah 30 and Surah 85. In Surah 30, it says:

The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious Within ten years – Allah’s is the command in the former case and in the latter – and in that day believers will rejoice In Allah’s help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Merciful. (Koran 30:2-5, Pickthall)

Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall wrote this explanation of this Surah.

    Ar-Rûm, “The Romans,” takes its name from a word in the first verse.
The armies of the Eastern Roman Empire had been defeated by the Persians in all the territory near Arabia. In the year A.D. 613 Jerusalem and Damascus fell, and in the year Egypt. A Persian army invaded Anatolia and was threatening Constantinople itself in the year A.D. 615 or 616 (the sixth or seventh before the Hijrah) when, according to the best authorities, this Sûrah was revealed at Mecca. The pagan Arabs triumphed in the news of Persian victories over the Prophet and his little band of followers, because the Christian Romans were believers in the One God, whereas the Persians were not. They argued that the power of Allah could not be supreme and absolute, as the Prophet kept proclaiming it to be, since the forces of a pagan empire had been able to defeat His worshippers.
The Prophet’s answer was provided for him in this grand assertion of Theocracy, which shows the folly of all who think of Allah as a partisan. It opens with two prophecies: that the Romans would be victorious over the Persians, and that the little persecuted company of Muslims in Arabia would have reason to rejoice, “within ten years.”* In fact, in A.D. 624 the Roman armies entered purely Persian territory, and in the same year a little army of Muslims, led by the Prophet, overthrew the flower of Arab chivalry upon the field of Badr.
But the prophecies are only a prelude to a proclamation of God’s universal kingdom, which is shown to be actual Sovereignty. The laws of nature are expounded as the laws of Allah in the physical spheres, and in the moral and political spheres mankind is informed that there are similar laws of life and death, of good and evil, action and inaction, and their consequences — which no one can escape by wisdom and cunning. His mercy, like His law, surrounds all things, and the standard of His judgment is the same for all. He is not remote or indifferent, partial or capricious. Those who do good earn His favour, and those who do ill earn His wrath, no matter what may be their creed or race; and no one, by the lip profession of a creed, is able to escape His law of consequences.
It belongs to the middle group of Meccan Sûrahs.
*The word in the Arabic (bida’) implies a space of not less than three, and not more than nine, years.
(The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, pp. 289,290, The New American Library, Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, New York 10019, public domain)

Notice that Mr. Pickthall said, “Because the Christian Romans were believers in one God.” He had a much better understanding of Trinitarian theology than many Muslim clerics do today. Trinitarian Christians do not worship three gods. They worship only one God who consists of three hypostases: Father, Word, and Spirit. Each hypostasis is God in His entirety and not one-third of God or a completely different god from the other two. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. This is a mystery which we do not try to explain. One Orthodox Christian theologian calls the Trinity a cross for the mind. The Koran says concerning God:

They encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. (Koran 2:255, Pickthall)

St. Paul says that “His ways” are “past finding out.” (Romans 11:33)

The Holy Prophet Moses said:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, to do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, LXX)

So, we back away from trying to explain the mystery and accept what has already been revealed to us concerning it.

In the 85th Surah, the Koran calls Christians believers there, too.

By the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, and by the Promised Day. And by the witness and that whereunto he beareth testimony, (self-)destroyed were the owners of the ditch of the fuel-fed fire, when they sat by it, and were themselves the witnesses of what they did to the believers. They had naught against them save that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Owner of Praise, Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is of all things the Witness. Lo! they who persecute believing men and believing women and repent not, theirs verily will be the doom of hell, and theirs the doom of burning. Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs will be Gardens underneath which rivers flow. That is the Great Success. Lo! the punishment of thy Lord is stern. (Koran 85:1-12, Pickthall)

Mr. Pickthall gave this explanation of this surah.

   Al-Buruj takes its name from a word in verse 1 which I have translated “mansions of the stars.” The word has the meaning of towers or mansions and is applied to the signs of the Zodiac. Verses 4 to 7 are generally taken to the massacre of the Christians of Najrân in Al-Yaman by a Jewish king Dhû Nawâs, an event of great historical importance since it caused the intervention of the Negus and led to the Abyssinian supremacy in the Yaman which lasted until the War of the Elephant (Sûrah CV) in the prophets year of birth. Professor Horowitz thinks that the words “owners of the ditch, of the fuel-fed fire” refer not to any historical event but the conditions of all persecutors in the hereafter.
An early Meccan Súrah. (The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, p. 435, The New American Library, Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, New York 10019, public domain, ISBN: 0-451-62305-3)

The believers who were being persecuted in this surah were Christians. In the commentary on verses 4-9 of this surah in The Study Quran it says this regarding the interpretation of most Koranic commentators.

Most say that the religion of those persecuted was Christianity. (The Study Quran, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr,  p. 1497, Harper Collins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007, Copyright 2015 by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ISBN: 978-0-06-112586-7)

The aqidah in the Koran and the one that forms the basis for the aqidahs of all Muslims consists of six articles of belief.

  • There is only one God and no other besides Him.
  • There are angels.
  • The teachings of the Old and New Testaments are true and should be obeyed.
  • The revelations of the prophets and messengers of God are true and their commandments which they have received from God should be obeyed.
  • There will be a general resurrection of the dead and a Last Judgment which will soon follow.
  • God is sovereign over the affairs of men and the rest of creation.

There is some disagreement between Sunni and Shiite Muslims regarding the last article of belief. The Sunnis emphasize predestination. The Shiites believe in neither complete free will nor complete predestination. The Mutazilis put a much heavier emphasis on free will than the Shiites.

For Protestant readers, these analogies apply regarding the subject of predestination among the Muslims. The Sunnis believe more like the Presbyterians and the Primitive Baptists. The Shiites are more like the Calminians (those who blend Calvinist theology with Arminian theology). The Mutazilis are more like the Free Will Baptists and the Methodists.

Some verses from the Koran which provide a basis for five of the articles of belief in this aqidah are:

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

Who is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael! Then, lo! Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers. (Koran 2:98, Pickthall)

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing. (Koran 2:177, Pickthall)

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers – we make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

(The same are) those who say: Lo! Allah hath charged us that we believe not in any messenger until he bring us an offering which fire (from heaven) shall devour. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Messengers came unto you before me with miracles, and with that (very miracle) which ye describe. Why then did ye slay them? (Answer that) if ye are truthful! And if they deny thee, even so did they deny messengers who were before thee, who came with miracles and with the Psalms and with the Scripture giving light. (Koran 3:183,184, Pickthall)

So believe in Allah and His messengers. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. (Koran 4:150,151, Pickthall)

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; and messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:163-165, Pickthall)

Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. (Koran 5:12, Pickthall)

There are two Creeds (or aqidahs) which came out of the Ecumenical Church Councils. From the First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), there is this one.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of His Father, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, being of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made, both which be in Heaven and in Earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from Heaven] and was incarnate and was made Man. He suffered and the third day He rose again, and ascended into Heaven, and He shall come again to judge both the living and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before He was begotten He was not, or that He was made of things that were not, or that He is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that He is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

There are some disagreements among Muslims as to whether the Word of God is created or uncreated. Jesus is called the Word of Allah in Koran 4:171. Those Muslims who say that the Word of Allah is uncreated are the right-believing ones according to this Creed. St. John the Theologian, who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples (Matthew 10:2; 17:1-8) and a Muslim (Koran 3:52), wrote:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3, NKJV)

It is important that we accept what the apostles of Jesus wrote. Jesus Himself said to His apostles:

He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, KJV)

The First Council of the Constantinople wrote this Creed in 381 A.D.

   We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, being of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made Man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
And [we believe] in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.

In our personal prayers and in church we Orthodox Christians usually say I instead of we in order to personalize our confession of faith.

There are no contradictions in the Koran.

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction. (Koran 4:82, Sahih International)

We Trinitarian Christians do not believe that Jesus is a unipersonal Deity. We believe that He is one hypostasis of God who consists of three hypostases. He is distinct from the other two. These verses do not contradict the teachings of other verses regarding Christians in the Koran.

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary (Koran 5:17, Pickthall)

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. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

These verses are condemning the Sabellian heresy. In 5:72, Jesus calls another hypostasis of the Deity Allah. He does not deny that He is Allah. Since each hypostasis is God in His entirety, it is only appropriate that one hypostasis call another hypostasis Allah or God. The Koran does not provide all of the teachings of Jesus regarding Himself which are found in the Gospels. It does tell Muslims to believe the Gospels. (Some Muslim clerics say that Allah gave Jesus a book which was called the Gospel, but there is absolutely no historical evidence for such a book. Two of Jesus’ disciples wrote two of the Gospels — Sts.Matthew and John. St. Mark wrote what he had learned from St. Peter. St. Luke interviewed people who knew about the events and teachings of Jesus. The Injil is the Four Gospels. The other books of the New Testament should be accepted, too. — St. Matthew 10:40)

Koran 4:171 condemns the Tritheist heresy. Koran 5:116 condemns the Maryamite heresy. We Orthodox Christians do not believe that Allah took unto Himself a Son. We believe that the Son proceeded from the Father. The procession of the Son from the Father is different from the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father. The procession of the Son from the Father is called “being begotten.” These words do not mean that God had sex with someone and physically procreated a son. These words are theological words and we really do not know what they mean. Remember Deuteronomy 29:29 and Koran 2:255 as quoted earlier in this blog.

Whenever the Koran condemns the doctrine of Allah taking unto Himself a Son, it is speaking about the Adoptionist heresy. Paul of Samosata and Nestorius taught Adoptionism.

The Koran also condemns the Bitheist heresy. (Koran 9:30,31; 16:51)

We believe that Jesus is a sacrifice for our sins.(I Corinthians 15:3; I John 2:1,2) St. John the Baptist said that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) The Koran speaks of Jesus’ death in three places. (Koran 3:55; 5:117; 19:33)

The Koran calls St. John the Baptist “a prophet of the righteous.”

And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous. (Koran 3:39, Pickthall)

There are no textual variants of John 1:29 among the Greek manuscripts. Therefore, we can rest assured that what our Bibles say that St. John the Baptist said about Jesus is correct.

We believe that Jesus arose from the dead and will never die again. (Matthew 28; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-49; John 20,21) The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is implied in Koran 3:55. Jesus spoke about His resurrection in Koran 19:33.

We believe that He ascended into Heaven. (Mark 16:19,20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11) The Koran mentions Jesus’ ascension into Heaven in Koran 3:55 and 4:158. His death (Koran 3:55; 5:117) and His ascension into Heaven do, of course, imply that Jesus bodily arose from the dead.

The Holy Spirit is not the Archangel Gabriel as so many Muslim religious leaders say. Nowhere in the Koran does it say that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel. The Holy Spirit is the third hypostasis of the Deity. He is God in His entirety. He is not one-third of God. (I have already spoken about Trinity math earlier in this blog.)

We believe in all things visible and invisible. Among the visible things are the angels. We believe in the existence of angels.

We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Church will always exist. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) Anyone who tries to extinguish the Church has become an ally of Satan because he is trying to prevail against it along with the gates of Hell. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. (I Timothy 3:15) The Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church into truth by councils. (John 16:13; Acts 15:28)

We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. (Acts 22:16) I found this interesting verse in the Koran which seems to teach the same thing.

When He caused calm to fall on you as a security from Him and sent down upon you water from the cloud that He might thereby purify you, and take away from you the uncleanness of the Shaitan, and that He might fortify your hearts and steady (your) footsteps thereby. (Koran 8:11, Shakir)

Shaitan is the Arabic name for Satan. God baptized the Muslims with rain water.

Jesus commanded His followers to baptize (Matthew 28:19,20) and said that we need to be baptized. (Mark 16:16; John 3:3-5) The Koran says that we should obey Jesus. (Koran 3:50; 43:63)

Like the Muslims, we believe in a bodily resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. (John 5:28,29; Matthew 25:31-46) We believe in a blessed afterlife for faithful believers in God. (Isaiah 65:17-25, LXX)

We Orthodox Christians believe that God is sovereign, but man still has a free will. Although man has a free will, he still needs God’s assistance in order to work out his salvation in the fear of God.

We Trinitarian monotheists are believers. (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7) Therefore, according to the Koran, our two Creeds are acceptable in Islam.

Verily We have brought the Truth to you: but most of you have a hatred for Truth. (Koran 43:78, Yusuf Ali)

Surah 90: The City

May 30, 2016 2 comments

In this blog, I am going to provide an exegesis of the Ninetieth Surah of the Koran. Being a Christian, I bring my Christian background to the text. So, I understand it in probably a different way than many Muslims do. Here are three different translations of this chapter in the Koran. The chapter is really quite short — only 20 short verses.

1 I swear by this city, Makkah –
2 And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city –
3 And [by] the father and that which was born [of him],
4 We have certainly created man into hardship.
5 Does he think that never will anyone overcome him?
6 He says, “I have spent wealth in abundance.”
7 Does he think that no one has seen him?
8 Have We not made for him two eyes?
9 And a tongue and two lips?
10 And have shown him the two ways?
11 But he has not broken through the difficult pass.
12 And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
13 It is the freeing of a slave
14 Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
15 An orphan of near relationship
16 Or a needy person in misery
17 And then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion.
18 Those are the companions of the right.
19 But they who disbelieved in Our signs – those are the companions of the left.
20 Over them will be fire closed in.
(Koran 90, Sahih International)

1 Nay, I swear by this city –
2 And thou art an indweller of this city –
3 And the Begetter and That Which He begat,
4 We verily have created man in an atmosphere:
5 Thinketh he that none hath power over him?
6 And he saith: I have destroyed vast wealth:
7 Thinketh he that none beholdeth him?
8 Did We not assign unto him two eyes
9 And a tongue and two lips,
10 And guide him to the parting of the mountain ways?
11 But he hath not attempted the Ascent –
12 Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Ascent is! –
13 (It is) to free a slave,
14 And to feed in the day of hunger.
15 An orphan near of kin,
16 Or some poor wretch in misery,
17 And to be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to pity.
18 Their place will be on the right hand.
19 But those who disbelieve Our revelations, their place will be on the left hand.
20 Fire will be an awning over them.
(Koran 90, Pickthall)

1 Nay! I swear by this city–
2 And you shall be made free from obligation in this city–
3 And the Begetter and Whom He begot.
4 Certainly We have created man to be in distress.
5 Does he think that no one has power over him?
6 He shall say: I have wasted much wealth.
7 Does he think that no one sees him?
8 Have We not given him two eyes,
9 And a tongue and two lips,
10 And pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways?
11 But he would not attempt the uphill road,
12 And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is?
13 (It is) the setting free of a slave,
14 Or the giving of food in a day of hunger
15 To an orphan, having relationship,
16 Or to the poor man lying in the dust.
17 Then he is of those who believe and charge one another to show patience, and charge one another to show compassion.
18 These are the people of the right hand.
19 And (as for) those who disbelieve in our communications, they are the people of the left hand.
20 On them is fire closed over.
(Koran 90, Shakir)

verse 1 I swear — the Holy Spirit swears. The Holy Spirit swears and not Muhammad. Muhammad commanded people not to swear oaths.

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if you ordered them, they would go forth [in Allah ‘s cause]. Say, “Do not swear. [Such] obedience is known. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with that which you do.” (Koran 24:53, Sahih International)

Jesus, likewise, commanded people not to swear oaths.

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37, NKJV)

The Old Testament laws regarding swearing oaths in the Lord’s name were abrogated by Jesus. The Koran talks about abrogation in Koran 2:106 and 16:101.

St. James, who is Jesus’ stepbrother or cousin, also said not to swear oaths.

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12, NKJV)

Many Church Fathers who lived before Muhammad wrote against the practice of swearing oaths.

But if thou art able to say that Christ bade us to use oaths, or that Christ did not punish the doing of this, show me, and I am persuaded. But if He forbids it with so much care, and takes so much thought about the matter as to class him who takes an oath with the Evil One [for whatsoever is more than these, namely, than yea and nay, saith He, is of the Devil (Matthew 5:37)], why dost thou bring this person and that person forward? (Instructions to Catechumens, First Instruction, chapter 5, by St. John Chrysostom)

For it is indeed a snare of Satan, this swearing. (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily XIII, by St. John Chrysostom)

For the oath of God is the assurance of a promise. Man is justly forbidden to swear: lest by the habit of swearing, since a man may be deceived, he fall into perjury. God alone swears securely, because He alone is infallible. (On the Psalms, Psalm LXXXIX, by Blessed Augustine of Hippo)

Swearing is absolutely forbidden, and it is only reasonable that the oath which tends to evil should be condemned. (Canon XXIX, Letter CXIX, by St. Basil the Great)

Therefore, Muhammad, who is a good example (Koran 33:21), would not swear an oath. God the Holy Spirit swears by “this city.” In Sahih International’s translation it says “by this city, Makkah.” However, Makkah does not appear in the Arabic text of the Koran. So, the city’s name is not mentioned.

The Holy Spirit swears by the city of the New Jerusalem in heaven and by the Father (“the begetter”) and the Son (“Whom He begot”). (See verse 3.) All three hypostases of the Deity are equal in glory, honor, power, etc. The Father is greater than the Son in respect to His humanity (John 14:28), but equal to the Son in respect to His Divinity. (John 5:18,23) Each hypostasis of the Deity is God in His entirety, but there are not three gods. There is only one God. God, therefore, swears by the city of the New Jerusalem in heaven and by Himself in this Surah because there is no one greater.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. (Hebrews 6:13-16, NKJV)

verse 2

Sahih International: And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city

Pickthall: And thou art an indweller of this city

Shakir: And you shall be made free from obligation in this city

The Arabic text says:

Wa-anta ḥillun bihādhā al-baladi.

The word, ḥillun,  is translated lawful in Koran 3:93; 5:5; and 60:10. A more literal translation of this verse would be, “And thou art lawful in this city.” Another words, someone is being told that he can lawfully be in that city. He is not forbidden to be there.

In the New Testament, the New Jerusalem is mentioned.

But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:26, NKJV)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20, NKJV)

For he (that is, Abraham) waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10, NKJV)

Then I, John, saw the holy city New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2, NKJV)

But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved[l] shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 21:22-27, NKJV)

No one can repent after he has been resurrected on the Last Day.

He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11, NKJV)

The Day that the shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration, but they shall not be able, — their eyes will be cast down, — ignominy will cover them; seeing that they had been summoned aforetime to bow in adoration, while they were whole, (and had refused). Then leave Me alone with such as reject this Message: by degrees shall We punish them from directions they perceive not. (Koran 68:42-44, Yusuf Ali)

Not everyone may lawfully enter and dwell in this city.

But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:15, NKJV)

Those who obey God by keeping His commandments have the right to enter the city.

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14, NKJV)

verse 3  “The begetter” is God the Father; “Whom He begot” is God the Son. Begetting and being begotten are theological expressions. The procession of the Son from the Father is called “being begotten.” These words in no way teach that God had sex with someone.

Holy Trinity Diagram

verse 4 We = the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three hypostases of the deity are involved in the creation of human beings. The Son in the Bible is also called “the Word of the Lord.” The Holy Spirit is also called “the Divine Spirit.”

And now, O Lord, thou art our Father, and we are clay, all of us the work of thine hands. (Isaiah 64:8, LXX)

And the Word of the Lord came to him, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee; I appointed thee a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4,5, LXX)

The Divine Spirit is that which formed me. (Job 33:4, LXX)

Sahih International translated this verse: “We have certainly created man into hardship.”

The word, kabadin, appears only once in the Koran. It is translated “hardship” in this verse by Sahih International. In Job, it says:

Yet man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. (Job 5:7, NKJV)

Man was created into hardship. The hardship is both spiritual and material. The hardship is the fruit of the Fall. People need God in order to eventually escape this hardship forever.

And to the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy submission shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And to Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee of it only not to eat — of that thou hast eaten, cursed is the ground in thy labours, in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread until thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken, for earth thou art and to earth thou shalt return. (Genesis 3:17-20, LXX)

verse 5 Thinketh he that none hath power over him? (Pickthall)

In Proverbs, it says:

Pride goes before destruction, and folly before a fall. Better is a meek-spirited man with lowliness, than one who divides spoils with the proud. (Proverbs 16:18,19, LXX)

Those who will not be allowed to dwell in that city will be proud and will mistakenly think that no one has power over them. God has power over them, though.

verse 6  He shall say: I have wasted much wealth. (Shakir)

Jesus told two parables about wealth. One is about hoarding wealth and the other is about prodigality, that is, wasting wealth.

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21, NKJV)

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:11-32, NKJV)

verses 7,8 Does he think that no one sees him? Have We not given him two eyes (Shakir)

Understand now, ye simple among the people; and ye fools, at length be wise. He that planted the ear, does He not hear? or He that formed the eye, does not He perceive? (Psalm 93:8,9, LXX; 94:8,9, Hebrew)

God who has given us two eyes can see.

The eyes of the Lord behold both the evil and the good in every place. (Proverbs 15:3, LXX)

verse 9 And a tongue and two lips? (Shakir)

And the Lord said to Moses, Who has given a mouth to man, and who has made the very hard of hearing, and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? Have not I, God? (Exodus 4:11, LXX)

Therefore God can speak to us. The creator of the faculties of communication can communicate.

verse 10 And have shown him the two ways? (Sahih International)

The Arabic text is:

Wahadaynāhu al-najdayni?

Literally translated, “And We have shown him the two ways?”

God has set before us two ways: the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is the way of doing good. The way of death is the way of evil. When we follow one way, we receive a blessing. When we follow another way, we receive a curse.

Behold, I have set before thee this day life and death, good and evil. If thou wilt hearken to the commands of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His ordinances, and His judgments; then ye shall live, and shall be many in number, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all the land into which thou goest to inherit it. But if thy heart change, and thou wilt not hearken, and thou shalt go astray and worship other gods, and serve them, I declare to you this day, that ye shall utterly perish, and ye shall by no means live long upon the land, into which ye go over Jordan to inherit it. I call both heaven and earth to witness this day against you, I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: choose thou life, that thou and thy seed may live; to love the Lord thy God, to hearken to His voice, and cleave to Him; for this is thy life, and the length of thy days, that thou shouldest dwell upon the land, which the Lord sware to thy fathers, Abraam, and Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, LXX)

And thou shalt say to this people, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I have set before you the way of life, and the way of death. He that remains in this city shall die by the sword, and by famine: but he that goes forth to advance to the Chaldeans that have besieged you, shall live, and his life shall be to him for a spoil, and he shall live. For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good: it shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall consume it with fire. (Jeremiah 21:8-10, LXX)

verse 11 But he hath not attempted the Ascent (Pickthall)

Here, I am reminded of this verse from Psalm 23 of the Septuagint.

Who shall go up to the mountain of the Lord, and who shall stand in His holy place? (Psalm 23:3 LXX; Psalm 24:3, Hebrew)

verses 12-17

Here is the Koran’s answer to the question in verse 11.

12 Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Ascent is! –
13 (It is) to free a slave,
14 And to feed in the day of hunger.
15 An orphan near of kin,
16 Or some poor wretch in misery,
17 And to be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to pity. (Pickthall)

Here is the 23rd Psalm’s answer to the question.

He that is innocent in his hands and pure in his heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Pause. (Psalm 23:3-6, LXX; Psalm 24:3-6, Hebrew)

Both texts are not providing exhaustive instructions on how to make the ascent, that is, how to become a lawful inhabitant of the New Jerusalem. Freeing slaves; feeding the hungry and the poor; not stealing, not committing murder, having a pure heart, not lifting up one’s soul to vanity, being truthful with others; believing in the existence of one God, the Last Day, and in all of God’s messengers; exhorting others to persevere in doing good, and exhorting others to be merciful are some of the things mentioned in this Surah from the Koran and in the passage from the Psalms.

verses 18,19

18 These are the people of the right hand.
19 And (as for) those who disbelieve in our communications, they are the people of the left hand. (Shakir)

Jesus spoke about the Last Judgment. Verses 18 and 19 of this Surah are speaking about the Last Judgment, too.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46, NKJV)

In St. John’s Gospel, there is this passage which talks about divine judgment.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:16-21, NKJV)

Notice that faith was mentioned in verse 17 of the Koran as a prerequisite for obtaining entrance into the city. Faith in Jesus Christ is mentioned as being necessary to avoid divine retribution in John 3:18. What many Christians do not know is that the Koran actually tells people to believe in Jesus. (Koran 3:45-53,179; 4:136,152,171; 5:110,111; 57:19,27-29; 61:6-13) Various good deeds were mentioned in verses 12-17 of this Surah. Practicing the truth, which is the opposite of practicing evil, is mentioned in John 3:21. In order to become someone who comes to the light, which is, of course, God, one must practice the truth. When one does good, one is living according to his true nature which God intended him to live by. Sin is a subtraction from one’s humanity and not an addition to it. Those who disbelieve in God’s revelations (verse 19, Pickthall) will be on the left hand of Jesus Christ on the Day of Judgment. Those who disbelieve in Jesus are “condemned already.” (John 3:18) They need to repent, believe, and start the spiritual ascent to the city by practicing good deeds.

verse 20 On them is fire closed over. (Shakir)

This is speaking about Gehenna (the Lake of Fire), the final resting place of the wicked after the Day of Judgment. In the Book of Revelation, it is mentioned here.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:11-15, NKJV)

Surah 112: The Surah of the Holy Spirit

May 16, 2016 Leave a comment

In this blog, I want to provide two possible interpretations for chapter 112 of the Koran. The name of this surah (that is, chapter) is The Sincerity. Some copies of the Koran call it the Unity. I think this has become somewhat of a creed for Muslims. Most probably see this as a statement denying the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, but I do not think that that is what it is actually doing.

I have chosen three translations of this surah. It is really very short, only four short verses.

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.
(Surah 112, Pickthall)

Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One,
Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
He neither begets nor is born,
Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”
(Surah 112, Sahih International)

Say: He, Allah, is One.
Allah is He on Whom all depend.
He begets not, nor is He begotten.
And none is like Him.
(Surah 112, Shakir)

The first verse in Arabic is:

Qul Huwa Al-lahu aḥadun.

Translated literally it is:

Say: He Allah one.

One can dispute as to where one should insert the verb. The verb, is, is understood. I like Shakir’s translation. “Say: He, Allah, is One.” The doctrine of the oneness of God is taught in several places in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:28-34; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; James 2:19; etc.) Also, in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, we say, “I believe in one God…” The first verse of this Creed teaches what Jews, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims believe to be true. God is one.

The next verse in Arabic is:

Al-lahu al-ṣamadu.

The word, al-ṣamadu, occurs only once in the entire Koran – in verse 112:2. So, there may be some significant differences in how it is translated into English. I like the translation of Sahih International. “Allah, the Eternal Refuge.” It could be translated, “Allah is the Eternal Refuge.” The verb, is, is understood like it is in the first verse.

The next verse is the one that seems to be denying the doctrine of the Trinity, but I disagree. There are two possible false doctrines that it is denying to be true: the Maryamite heresy (See Koran 5:116.) and the polytheistic doctrines regarding gods having sex and begetting other gods. It may also be referring to the Holy Spirit, the third hypostasis of the Deity. The Arabic of the verse is:

Lam yalid walam yūlad.

Both verbs in the verse are in the jussive mood. The jussive mood is an imperative mood for the first and third person. It can also be translated into English as the subjunctive mood. So, a possible translation is:

Should not beget and should not be begotten.

Or another possibility is:

Let Him not beget and let Him not be begotten.

The basic idea, regardless of which translation one prefers, is that God does not sexually beget, nor was He sexually begotten. This interpretation would be a rejection of the Maryamite heresy which taught that God the Father had sex with the Virgin Mary and Jesus was sexually begotten. It would also be rejecting the pagan doctrines about gods having physical acts of sex with goddesses and even humans and having offspring by them. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology are full of such examples.

There were polytheistic Arabs in the seventh century and Muhammad preached against polytheism.

If it is speaking about the theological concepts of begetting and being begotten as used in the Bible and by Christians when speaking about the mode of procession of the Son from the Father, then this whole chapter of the Koran is really about the third hypostasis of the Deity – the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, but the Father did not beget in the theological sense the Holy Spirit, nor was the Holy Spirit ever begotten in the theological sense.

I have already said in former blogs, no Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or mainstream Protestant Christian believes that God had sex with anyone. The words, beget, begotten, and proceed, are used in speaking about the relationships among the three hypostases of the Deity. What these terms actually really mean is really a mystery. These are terms found in the Bible. Therefore, they are the ones that are used.

I have also said in previous blogs that we believe that each hypostasis of God is God in His entirety, but there are not three gods. There is only one. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. Three wholes make one whole. This is a mystery. One needs to admit that the human mind will never be able to comprehend all of the mysteries shrouding the Deity. Whenever one tries to understand such mysteries and explain them like a scientist does after he has analyzed the biological processes occurring in the body of a frog, one falls into a grave error. God is so big that He can never be scientifically and rationally explained in complete detail. Trying to do so is essentially trying to exalt oneself above God. That, of course, is sin. So, the doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery, but we, Orthodox Christians, still believe it. Do not ask any of us to philosophically prove or explain this doctrine. “God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us.” Our religion is a revealed religion.

The last verse of this surah in Arabic is:

Walam yakun lahu kufuwan aḥadun.

“And should not be for Him an equivalent one.” I like the translation of Marmaduke Pickthall here:

And there is none comparable unto Him.

When I first read these words, I thought about this verse in the Old Testament.

This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. (Baruch 3:35, LXX)

God is unique. The Koran and the Bible agree. Each hypostasis of the Deity is also unique. So, nothing is comparable to either of Them. Nothing is comparable to our God.

I think that this surah is speaking about the Holy Spirit, the third hypostasis of the Trinity. He neither begets, nor was begotten. He is unique. He is God in His entirety. There is only one God. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. The mystery of the Trinity is that three wholes make one whole. God, of course, never had sex with anyone. So, the Maryamites and the polytheists are in grave error.

The True Faith

May 28, 2012 Leave a comment

In the world, there must be a true religion among all of the various competing ones. I do not think that God reveals different conflicting truths to different peoples. There must be one true faith among several false ones.

Christianity claims to be the true religion. Islam and Judaism do, too. Hinduism claims to be an umbrella for all religions. Buddhism is a religion without a god. So, all monotheistic and polytheistic religions are false religions to a Buddhist. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism teach that the dead will one day be resurrected. Hindus and Buddhists teach reincarnation.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus was exclusive when speaking about salvation (St. Matt. 10:32,33,37-39; 11:27; St. John 3:5; 5:40; 6:51-57; 14:6), but He was inclusive when extending an invitation to be saved (St. Matt. 11:28-30; St. Luke 14:16-24). He did not teach universalism. He did not teach that all religions are essentially true. He claimed to be the Truth (St. John 14:6) and be the One who reveals the truth (St. John 18:37).

The religion He spoke of had reference to Himself. He equated Himself with God and even claimed to be God. (St. John 5:18,23; 8:56-58; 10:30-33) He claimed to be God among us. (St. John 10:30,38; 12:44,45; 14:9) He claimed to be the Light of the world (St. John 8:12; 12:46), the Door into the sheepfold (St. John 10:7-9), the One by whom everyone must come to the Father (St. John 14:6). He claimed to be the One who will call the dead out of the graves on the last day (St. John 5:26-29; 6:40,44,54; 11:23-26). He claimed to be the One who will judge the world in righteousness. (St. Matt. 13:37-43; 25:31-46; St. John 5:22,27)

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul said that there is one faith, not several.  (Eph. 4:5)

To think that all religions are essentially true is to say that God’s revelation to man is contradictory.

Christians are Trinitarian. They believe that there is only one God, but He is three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each Person of the Godhead, according to Christian doctrine, is God in His entirety, but is distinct from the other Two Persons of the Godhead. All Three Persons share the same essence, or substance. Christians believe that the Second Person of the Godhead assumed human flesh and blood from His Virgin Mother, created a human soul for Himself at the moment of conception, and lived among men after being born in Bethlehem. The name of this God-Man is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The Hindus say that God is formless and includes all forms. They have many gods that they believe are different forms of the same God. They are non-Trinitarian, but monotheistic.

The Jews are likewise non-Trinitarian but monotheistic. They do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh.

The Muslims reject the Trinitarian doctrines of Christians. They, like the Jews, worship a Unitarian god and not the Trinitarian One of the Christians. Muslims say that Mohammed is a prophet. Jews and Christians say he is not.

The Buddhists worship Buddha who is, according to them, some Supersaint who has achieved enlightenment. They are atheists. They say that there is no God.

Of all the world’s religions, many must be wrong and only one is right. Just as the grass is green and not purple, the sun is hot and not cold, so either truth is true or it ceases to be truth at all.