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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.

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An Exegesis of the Terrorism Verse in the Koran: Koran 3:151

April 9, 2017 Leave a comment

With all of the terrorist attacks being committed recently by Pseudo-Islamic extremists in the name of Islam or Islamism, I thought that it would be a good idea to write a blog post about the “Terrorism Verse” in the Koran. Many critics of the Koran quote this verse saying that the Koran promotes terrorism. Maybe the Pseudo-Islamic extremists think that this verse grants them divine authority to commit terrorist acts against innocent people, too. However, I do not believe that it does.

Here is the verse in question:

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: and evil is the home of the wrong-doers! (Koran 3:151, Yusuf Ali)

Yusuf Ali added the word “soon” to this verse, but the Arabic word which means “soon” does not appear in the Arabic text. So, we should ignore this adverb and look at the rest of his translation.

The text says:

We shall cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.

Allah is speaking. Notice the first person plural is used. Here is more evidence from the Koran that God is Tri-personal. This verse is saying, We (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) shall cast terror into the hearts of Unbelievers.

The verse continues giving the reason for casting terror into their hearts.

For they joined companions with Allah, for which He sent no authority.

This part of the verse teaches that although Allah is Tri-personal, He is still only one God. The third person singular is used to indicate that God is one. The Unbelievers in this verse are the polytheists and not the Christians and the Jews. The polytheists worship other gods in addition to Allah.

The Koran is simply confirming whatever Scripture went before it. (Koran 5:48) In the Bible, there are similar teachings. Here are some examples.

But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. (Leviticus 26:14-16, NKJV)

They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell; it shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them. They shall be wasted with hunger, devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction; I will also send against them the teeth of beasts, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword shall destroy outside; there shall be terror within for the young man and virgin, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. (Deuteronomy 32:21-25, NKJV)

For destruction from God is a terror to me, and because of His magnificence I cannot endure. (Job 31:23, NKJV)

Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. (Psalm 88:14-16, NKJV)

Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will lop off the bough with terror; those of high stature will be hewn down, and the haughty will be humbled. (Isaiah 10:33, NKJV)

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off. Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is the scribe? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?” You will not see a fierce people, a people of obscure speech, beyond perception, of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand. (Isaiah 33:17-19, NKJV)

It is God who casts terror into people’s hearts. He may use individuals to do this. In Koran 3:151, the reason for God casting terror into the hearts of Unbelievers is because of the practice of idolatry — worshiping other gods in addition to the Holy Trinity. One can say that the same reason for God casting terror into people’s hearts is given in Leviticus 26:14-16 and Deuteronomy 32:21-25. One of God’s commandments in the Decalogue is: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”  (Deuteronomy 5:7)

This verse from the Koran is not encouraging offensive jihad on peaceful polytheists. There are only three reasons for warfare in the Koran: self-defense (Koran 2:190; 3:125; 9:13), to end religious persecution (Koran 9:12), and to liberate the oppressed (Koran 4:75). Even a polytheist who desires to be at peace with the Muslims and seeks their protection in war is not to be killed. (Koran 4:90,94; 9:6)

The Koran, like the Bible, forbids murder.

Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law. (Koran 6:151, Yusuf Ali)

This verse from the Koran continues on by describing the ultimate punishment of unbelievers, that is, idolaters.

Their abode will be the Fire.

The Fire is, of course, Gehenna, that is, the Second Death mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. (See Revelation 20:11-14; 21:8,14,15.) St. Paul said that idolaters will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21)

This verse from the Korans says, “Evil is the home of wrong-doers.” People who commit sins such as idolatry, murder, hatred, and dissensions live among people who do the same things. The polytheists spoken of in this verse were killing, hating, and fighting the Muslims, who were not starting fights with them. Their home was evil, that is, in an environment of evil.

One should not think that everyone who lives in an environment of evil is practicing heinous sins. Some people live in such an environment, but not by choice.

The critics of the Koran and the Pseudo-Islamic extremists do not interpret verses from the Koran in the context of the whole Koran and along with the Bible which the Koran confirms. The interpret verses as isolated texts.

So, this verse, which has been labeled “the Terrorism Verse,” does not promote terrorism. It is talking about God casting terror into the hearts of polytheists who fight against and persecute the Muslims. God probably did this when the Muslims were fighting back in self-defense, trying to stop the religious persecution they were suffering under the polytheists, or trying to liberate other oppressed Muslims from the oppression of the polytheists. They were not trying to forcefully convert people to Islamic monotheism. “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Koran 2:256) God cast terror into their hearts because they disobeyed His commandments and ascribed other gods as partners with the one and only true God — the Holy Trinity. God warned the ancient Israelites of similar consequences in the Torah. Verses from the Koran need to be interpreted in the context of the whole Koran as well as in the context of the passage in which they occur. The Bible needs to be consulted in order to get a good understanding of the meaning because the Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.  Interpreting verses from the Koran in isolation from the rest of the Scriptures, both Koranic and Biblical, is the error of Pseudo-Islamic extremists and critics of the Koran.

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Allah the Father in the Koran

December 2, 2016 Leave a comment

One question that a non-Muslim might have about the Koran is does it teach the Fatherhood of God like the Bible does? Well, I will answer that question by saying these three things. Number 1, the Fatherhood of God is not expressly stated in the Koran, but it is implied in several verses. Number 2, the Koran accepts Scriptures that teach the Fatherhood of God as authoritative. Number 3, the Koran calls Jesus “waladun” which means in Arabic “begotten Child.” So, yes, although the teaching of the Fatherhood of God is not expressly stated in the Koran, it is implied and Muslims are required by the Koran to acknowledge this doctrine. Otherwise, they will not be on the “straight path.” They will “wander far astray.” (Koran 4:136)

First, let us look at the verses in the Koran that imply the Fatherhood of God. In the Fifth Surah, it says:

(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are sons of Allah, and his beloved.” Say: “Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men, — of the men He hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)” (Koran 5:18, Yusuf Ali)

Here, what is being rejected by the Koran is the assertion of certain Jews and Christians that they are God’s children. The reason for rejecting this assertion is because God is punishing them for their sins. Since they are not spiritual children of God, they are only “men He hath created.” One who is not practicing sin, but righteousness, would, therefore, by implication be a child of God. The Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

When I first read this verse, I thought that it was contradicting a teaching in the Bible, but then, I remembered that the Koran confirms the Bible (Koran 3:3,4; 5:48; 10:38; 21:24; 41:43).  It does not contradict it. The passage in the Bible that first came to my mind was this passage:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  (Hebrews 12:5-10, NKJV)

Then, I remembered that Blessed Augustine taught that a child of God can be disinherited by God and St. John the Theologian wrote in his First Catholic Epistle:

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (I John 2:29, NKJV)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (I John 3:10, NKJV)

So, what Koran 5:18 is talking about when it speaks about Jews and Christians being “punished for their sins” is not divine chastisement of which the passage in Hebrews 12 speaks. It is something far more serious.

In the Ninth Surah, it says:

But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. (Koran 9:11, Pickthall)

What this verse is talking about is how polytheists should be treated after they repent of their polytheism and become monotheists. They become the Muslims’ “brethren in religion.” The word, “brethren,” implies the existence of a Father, that is, God. Therefore, the Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

In the Forty-Ninth Surah, it says:

The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy. (Koran 49:10, Pickthall)

Here, believers are called “brothers.” It is interesting to note that Orthodox Christians are called “believers” twice in the Koran. (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7) So, if “believers are naught else than brothers,” then they have the same Father, namely, God. The Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

The Koran accepts the Bible as authoritative. The Koran requires that Muslims believe the Bible and obey all of the non-abrogated teachings in it.

Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom. For Allah is not unaware of what ye do. (Koran 2:85, 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)

Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. (Koran 3:119, Pickthall)

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)

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. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Whoso believeth and doeth right, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. But as for those who deny Our revelations, torment will afflict them for that they used to disobey. (Koran 6:48,49, Pickthall)

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

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)

The Bible clearly teaches the Fatherhood of God in two different senses. God, being our Creator, is the Father of all of His creatures.

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

God is also the spiritual Father of those who have repented of their sins and continue to strive to practice righteousness.

For Thou art our Father; for though Abraham knew us not, and Israel did not acknowledge us, yet do Thou, O Lord, our Father, deliver us: Thy name has been upon us from the beginning. (Isaiah 63:16, LXX)

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32, NKJV)

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthian 6:17,18, NKJV)

Since the Koran accepts the teachings of the Bible and commands people to believe its teachings, the Koran asserts the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God. The Koran acknowledges that God is everyone’s Father in the sense that He is their Creator. He is the “Father of spirits.” (Hebrews 12:9, NKJV) It also asserts that God is the spiritual Father of believers. This is a more restricted sense. He is not the spiritual Father of those who practice sin. Neither is He the spiritual Father of unbelievers.

Finally, the Koran calls Jesus “waladun.” This is an Arabic word which means “begotten Child.” Koran 4:171 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 unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

The next part of the verse is often mistranslated. Here is the Arabic.

Sub’ḥānahu an yakūna lahu waladun. (Koran 4:171)

A better translation of these words than what people usually read in English translations of the Koran is:

Glory be to Him that He should be for Him a begotten Child.

That is, “Glory be to Jesus the Messiah that He should be for Allah the Father a begotten Child.” Jesus said:

For I proceeded forth and came from God. (John 8:42, NKJV)

Jesus’ procession from God is called “being begotten.” The Divine Essence does not possess genitals. Therefore, Jesus was not sexually begotten. This is only a theological expression. The Koran says:

And one of them who should say: Lo! I am a god beside Him, that one We should repay with hell. Thus We Repay wrong-doers. (Koran 21:29, Pickthall)

Jesus is not a separate God from Allah. He attributed the titles of Allah to Himself thereby affirming that He is Allah. (Compare John 8:58 with Exodus 3:13,14; Revelation 1:17 with Isaiah 44:6 and Koran 57:3.) However, He is distinct from Allah the Father because both He and the Father are two different hypostases of the same God. There is only one God. Jesus said:

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

Jesus claimed the He and the Father are one God. They are the same God.

For those who have not read any of my previous blogs, I will briefly explain the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God in His entirety, but He is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. The Son is God in His entirety, but He is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in His Entirety, but He is neither the Father nor the Son. The Father has neither an origin nor a beginning. The Son has an origin, but no beginning. The Holy Spirit has an origin, but no beginning. All Three are not three different Gods. They are one and the same God, but different hypostases of the same God. The mystery of the Trinity is that three wholes make one whole. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.

In conclusion, the Koran does teach the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God. This doctrine is implied in certain verses in the Koran. (Koran 5:18; 9:11; 49:10) The Koran accepts the teachings of the Bible which teach the Fatherhood of God. The Koran calls Jesus “waladun” which means “begotten Child.” (Koran 4:171) This expression is a theological expression. The Divine Essence does not have genitals. God exists in three different hypostases: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All Three are one and the same God.

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)

Stoning Jesus

May 21, 2016 Leave a comment

In the Koran, it says:

Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance for mankind, which ye have put on parchments which ye show, but ye hide much (thereof), and (by which) ye were taught that which ye knew not yourselves nor (did) your fathers (know it)? Say: Allah. (Koran 6:92, Pickthall)

The Book which Moses brought is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The Torah is a light and a guidance for mankind. From it one can learn what is right and what is wrong. The Torah prescribes stoning as one manner in which capital punishment is to be administered for certain sins. In this blog I am going to look at the reasons for stoning and attempt to ascertain why the Jews wanted to stone Jesus.

In the Gospels, we read:

And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:23-29, NASB)

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:56-59, NASB)

Jesus had been talking to the Jews. After He said to them, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” they wanted to stone Him. In another place in the Gospel according to St. John, we read:

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a Man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:30-38, NASB)

Here, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus after He said, “I and the Father are one.” Some people say that what Jesus meant when He said this was that He was in agreement with the Father and was doing the Father’s will. If that is true, then is there a place in the Old Testament that says that one should be stoned for obeying God? No, of course not.

Let us look at some passages in the Torah about stoning and see which ones the Jews were using to justify stoning Jesus.

Working on the Sabbath

This passage in Numbers says that a man was stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

And the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And they who found him gathering sticks on the Sabbath day brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel. And they placed him in custody, for they did not determine what they should do to him. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Let the man be by all means put to death: do ye all the congregation, stone him with stones. And all the congregation brought him forth out of the camp; and all the congregation stoned him with stones outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36, LXX)

This is the only incident where someone was stoned for not observing the Sabbath. Nowhere else in the Old Testament is it mentioned that anyone was ever stoned for doing so. However, in Exodus there is a commandment to put someone to death for working on the Sabbath. (Exodus 31:15)

Jesus was not breaking the commandment regarding the Sabbath. So, in both instances when the Jews wanted to stone Him, they did not want to do that because He was breaking the Sabbath.

Disobeying Parents

Another reason for stoning someone is for disobeying one’s parents.

And if any man has a disobedient and contentious son, who hearkens not to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother, and they should correct him, and he should not hearken to them; then shall his father and his mother take hold of him, and bring him forth to the elders of his city, and to the gate of the place: and they shall say to the men of their city, This our son is disobedient and contentious, he hearkens not to our voice, he is a reveler and a drunkard. And the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die; and thou shalt remove the evil one from yourselves, and the rest shall hear and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, LXX)

Jesus was already a grown Man. This passage would not apply to Him. Anyway, in the Koran it says that Jesus was “faultless.” (Koran 19:19) Jesus also said that He always does those things that please God. (John 8:29) So, He never disobeyed His mother or His stepfather while He was growing up.

Fornication

Another reason for stoning was for fornication, that is, having sex before one becomes married.

And the father of the damsel shall say to the elders, I gave this my daughter to this man for a wife; and now he has hated her, and attaches reproachful words to her, saying, I have not found tokens of virginity with thy daughter; and these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall unfold the garment before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man, and shall chastise him, and shall fine him a hundred shekels, and shall give them to the father of the damsel, because he has brought forth an evil name against a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife: he shall never be able to put her away. But if this report be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel; then shall they bring out the damsel to the doors of her father’s house, and shall stone her with stones, and she shall die; because she has wrought folly among the children of Israel, to defile the house of her father by whoring: so thou shalt remove the evil one from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:16-21, LXX)

The two passages in the Gospels say nothing about Jesus having sex with anyone. He was not married, but He never committed fornication.

Adultery and Rape

Two other reasons for stoning are for committing adultery and for rape.

And if a man be found lying with a woman married to a man, ye shall kill them both, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou remove the wicked one out of Israel. And if there be a young damsel espoused to a man, and a man should have found her in the city and have lain with her; ye shall bring them both out to the gate of their city, and they shall be stoned with stones, and they shall die; the damsel, because she cried not in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour’s spouse: so shalt thou remove the evil one from yourselves. But if a man find in the field a damsel that is betrothed, and he should force her and lie with her, ye shall slay the man that lay with her only. And the damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death; as if a man should rise up against his neighbour, and slay him, so is this thing; because he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to help her. (Deuteronomy 22:22-27, LXX)

Jesus was not accused of having committed either of these sins by the Jews in those Gospel passages.

Practicing the Occult Arts

Fortune telling and sorcery are also punishable by stoning in the Torah.

And as for a man or woman whosoever of them shall have in them a divining spirit, or be an enchanter, let them both die the death: ye shall stone them with stones, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:27, LXX)

Jesus was once accused of casting out devils by Beelzebub (that is, Satan).

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. (Matthew 12:22-24, KJV)

No one wanted to stone Him for doing that though. In those Gospels passages (John 8:56-59; 10:30-38), there is no allegation of sorcery lodged against Jesus.

Human Sacrifice to False Gods

Another reason for stoning is for offering one’s child to a false god.

Thou shalt also say to the children of Israel, If there shall be any of the children of Israel, or of those who have become proselytes in Israel, who shall give of his seed to Moloch, let him be surely put to death; the nation upon the land shall stone him with stones. (Leviticus 20:2, LXX)

Jesus did not have any children. Therefore, this passage does not apply to Him.

Cursing God

Another reason for stoning was for cursing God.

And there went forth a son of an Israelitish woman, and he was son of an Egyptian man among the sons of Israel; and they fought in the camp, the son of the Israelitish woman, and a man who was an Israelite. And the son of the Israelitish woman named THE NAME and curse; and they brought him to Moses: and his mother’s name was Salomith, daughter of Dabri of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in ward, to judge him by the command of the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Bring forth him that cursed outside the camp, and all who heard shall lay their hands upon his head, and all the congregation shall stone him. And speak to the sons of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whosoever shall curse God shall bear his sin. And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die the death: let all the congregation of Israel stone him with stones; whether he be a stranger or a native, let him die for naming the name of the Lord. (Leviticus 24:10-16, LXX)

Jesus did not curse God when He was speaking to the Jews.

Before looking at the next two reasons for stoning in the Torah, let us first look at these passages in the Old Testament.

God’s Name

Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  (Exodus 3:13,14, NASB)

I God, the first and to all futurity, I AM. (Isaiah 41:4, LXX)

Be ye My witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I AM: before Me there was no other God, and after Me there shall be none. (Isaiah 43:10, LXX)

Hear Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of Israel, who are borne by Me from the womb, and taught by Me from infancy, even to old age: I AM; and until ye shall have grown old, I AM: I bear you, I have made, and I will relieve, I will take up and save you. (Isaiah 46:3,4, LXX)

In these passages, God calls Himself I AM. In Hebrew and also in Aramaic this is only one word. In the first passage about stoning Jesus, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” I AM is what God called Himself when speaking to Moses from the burning bush. He told Moses to tell the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14) In the second Gospel passage, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” The Jews wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy. They understood that what Jesus was claiming was that He is God.

Proselyting for False Gods

According to the Torah, someone can be stoned for trying to get people to worship any other god but the one and only true God.

And if thy brother by thy father or mother, or thy son, or daughter, or thy wife in thy bosom, or friend who is equal to thine own soul, entreat thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, of the gods of the nations that are round about you, who are near thee or at a distance from thee, from one end of the earth to the other; thou shalt not consent to him, neither shalt thou hearken to him; and thine eye shall not spare him, thou shalt feel no regret for him, neither shalt thou at all protect him: thou shalt surely report concerning him, and thy hands shall be upon him among the first to slay him, and the hands of all the people at the last. 10 And they shall stone him with stones, and he shall die, because he sought to draw thee away from the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10, LXX)

If Jesus was claiming to be God, then in the Jews’ opinion He would be leading them away from the true God. They did not believe the words of Jesus. Therefore, they wanted to stone Him.

Idolatry

The next passage from the Torah forbids idolatry. Idolaters can be stoned.

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress his covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which he commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

If Jesus claimed to be God and the Jews did not believe His words, then they would find a just reason for stoning Him in this passage. The Jews believed that He was not God and was claiming to be God. Therefore, they wanted to stone Him.

In John 8:58, Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham. There is no teaching about reincarnation in the entire Bible, nor is that doctrine taught in the Koran. Jesus said:

So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” (John 7:16, NASB)

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

I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. (John 8:38, NASB)

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49, NASB)

He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:24, NASB)

Whenever Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” He was speaking the words that the Father told Him to speak. The words of Jesus are the words of Allah. Jesus claimed to be Allah.

In the Koran, it says:

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)

Jesus is Allah, but Allah is not Jesus. Whenever one says that Allah is Jesus, one is speaking the heretical doctrine of the Sabellians. The Sabellians believed that there is only one hypostasis in the Deity and that Jesus is the incarnation of that one hypostasis. They denied the existence of two other hypostases in the Deity: the Father and the Holy Spirit. They believed that Jesus manifested Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which were three different modes of the Deity’s existence and not three different hypostases of God.

The Orthodox Christian doctrine is that there are three distinct hypostases in the Deity. These hypostases are not three distinct gods, but three distinct Persons who are one and the same God. Everywhere the Father is, there is the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everywhere the Son is, there is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Everywhere the Holy Spirit is, there is the Father and the Son.

All three hypostases share the same essence. One essence, one God. The same essence, the same God. Each hypostasis is God in His entirety, but distinct from the other two.

In Koran 5:72, it says that Jesus said: “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord.” In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus said to St. Mary Magdalene:

Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” (John 20:17, NASB)

Since each hypostasis of the Deity is Allah (that is, God) in His entirety, it is appropriate, therefore, for one hypostasis to call another hypostasis Allah, or God. In Koran 5:72 and in John 20:17, Jesus was not denying that He is Allah. He was merely calling another hypostasis of the Deity Allah. Koran 5:72 teaches that Jesus is not a unipersonal God who manifests Himself in three different modes of existence. Jesus acknowledges the existence of at least one other hypostasis in addition to Himself in that verse from the Koran.

Every part of God’s essence belongs to all three hypostases. If it were possible to divide the divine essence of Allah into tiny, infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three hypostases of the Deity. The divine essence, however, is unknown. No one knows of what substance God consists. In fact, no one will ever know.

Jesus is a Man. He is 100% human and 100% God. The two natures are joined together without division, without separation, without mixture, and without change. The divine nature of Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The human nature is limited in power, knowledge, and location. His divine nature is infinite. His human nature is finite.

Now, let us look at these passages about Jesus’ trial before the Jewish High Priest and the Sanhedrin.

But He held His peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I AM: and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death. (Mark 14:61-64, KJV)

Art Thou the Christ? Tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art Thou then the Son of God? And He said unto them, Ye say that I AM. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves have heard of His own mouth. (Luke 22:67-71, KJV)

Jesus was questioned by the High Priest in St. Mark’s Gospel. He was questioned by several Jews in St. Luke’s Gospel.

The Jews wanted to put Jesus to death because of blasphemy. He called Himself “I AM.” He said that He is God. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7 are the basis for putting Jesus to death in the Jews’ opinion.

The Jews did not want to stone Him because the Passover lamb was going to be sacrificed the next day. They wanted the Romans to execute Him. So, they delivered Him to the Roman governor Pilate. (See Matthew 26:3-5 and John 19:14.)

Jesus was crucified by the Romans and not by the Jews as some seventh century Jews asserted. (See Koran 4:157.) He voluntarily laid down His life. No one took it from Him.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

He was buried and arose from the dead. He appeared to over 500 people during a forty day period of time. (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20,21; Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:3-8)

When He was on the Cross, there were two thieves that were crucified on both sides of Him. St. Luke recorded this conversation of the thieves with Jesus while He was on the Cross.

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:39-43, KJV)

Jesus told one of the thieves that He would be with Him in Paradise. In the Koran, it says that Jesus was among the righteous.

And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them) was of the righteous. (Koran 6:85, Pickthall)

It also says in the Koran that anyone who ascribes partners unto Allah is forbidden Paradise.

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. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

Jesus went to Paradise with one of the thieves. Jesus is, therefore, not a partner of Allah, that is, a separate god from Allah. (See Koran 5:116.) Jesus is Allah.

The Father is Allah. The Son is Allah. The Holy Spirit is Allah. However, there is only one Allah. The Father is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. The Son is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. God is love. (I John 4:8,16) God is the Loving. (Koran 11:90; 85:14) All three hypostases love each other with constant, unconditional, self-sacrificial love. There is no dissension or contention in the Trinity.

To conclude, the Jews wanted to put Jesus to death because He claimed to be God. The basis for doing so, in their opinion, is found in two passages from the Book of Deuteronomy. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7) There are three distinct hypostases in the Deity who are one and the same God sharing the same essence. Jesus is one of these hypostases. Jesus went to Paradise. He was among the righteous. (Koran 6:85) He never claimed to be a separate god from Allah. (Koran 5:116) He said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus is Allah (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58), but Allah is not Jesus. (Koran 5:17,72) Jesus is the Son of God, who is also God. Jesus is not the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is not a unipersonal God who manifests Himself in three different modes like the Sabellians teach. Jesus is also human. As human, He is finite and limited in His abilities. As God, He is infinite and able to do all things. Those who disbelieve what Jesus said concerning Himself in the Gospels are “disbelievers in the truth” and Allah has prepared for them “a shameful doom.” (See Koran 4:150-152.)

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.