Short Conversations: Muslims on the Trinity

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Note this is a fictional dialogue based on real dialogues I have had with Muslims. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses can raise similar points.

How many Gods do you believe in, one or three? One. There is one true God worthy of worship (Deut. 6:4–9).

How does God take his place amongst the gods in Psalm 82 if there is only one God? There is one uncreated elohim (god) called YHWH (LORD), the other elohim or gods are spirit beings who are created by YHWH (Is. 40–48) and who sit under his authority.

How can you believe in the Trinity if you believe in one true God when the Trinity has three Gods in it? The belief in the Trinity is a belief in one God, one being. Three centres of consciousness or persons have the same essential attributes of God’s essence and are each fully and completely divine in essence. One essence, one divine nature, one being, three persons.

The word Trinity is not in the Bible so why do you believe it? The word Trinity is used to describe the evidence of the multi personal Godhead in the Bible. Words such as omniscient, omnipotent do not appear in the Bible but that does not mean God is not these things.

Doesn’t Deut 6:4 contradict the Trinity by saying the LORD is One? No, God is one. God has one essence, one being. Deut. 6:4 has a plural suffix on the word God or eloheinu meaning this verse can be translated as our Gods is One. Similar suffixes are used to describe grapes, fathers etc in the Old Testament. Note, however, this passage also includes the singular (is one), meaning there is plurality within the singular concept.

The Trinity doesn’t make sense, how can you believe it? God is one (being) and three (persons) but not in the same way and the same sense, hence, no contradiction. The three persons are distinct in terms of their relationship to one another but not in their essence. Three persons or centres of consciousness each reflect one divine nature or essence.

It might be hard to grasp yes but that does not make it false. Richard Feynman argued physicists use energy but don’t understand or know what it is as quoted in Atoms in Motion. Neither can we conceptualise life in the 11th dimension. The Trinity best explains the evidence in the Bible.

The Trinity is not in the Old Testament, Christians made it up. Second temple Judaism included some binitarians. How did they get this view? The Old Testament speaks YHWH raining down fire from another person, the YHWH of heaven (Gen. 19:24), the angel of the LORD and the word of the LORD are called YHWH, as is a man who wrestles Jacob. Note Isaiah 48:12–16. The Lord who called Israel, the first and the last, is there from the beginning, uncreated, yet somehow sent by the Lord God and the Spirit (v.16). By implication there are three distinct uncreated timeless persons part of the Godhead which have different roles though the same nature. More here.

Jesus never thought he was God anyway. According to the synoptic gospels Jesus applied passages about YHWH to himself, forgave sins, is Saviour (God’s role alone in Isaiah 43:11), redefined the law, spoke on his own authority, received worship, has power over the demonic, is Lord over nature, the Wisdom of God, the Son of Man, the Son of God and is “God with us” (Matt. 1:22–23). More here.

Adam was a son of God too and there were other sons of God in Job. In Mark 13:32 Jesus elevates himself above the angels and humans using anabasis. He is the unique kind of Son (monogeneis as per Heiser), distinctively divine. This passage meets embarrassment criterion.

Saying you’re a Son of Man doesn’t make you divine. Jesus was charged with blasphemy for saying he is the Son of Man (Mark. 14:60–64). The Son of Man forgives sins (Mark 2), has co rulership with God at his right hand and comes in the clouds of heaven when only God does that in the Old Testament (Mark 14:60–64). This refers to Daniel 7’s two powers in heaven.

Show me one passage where Jesus thought he was God outside of John. Mark 14:60–64 where Jesus charged with blasphemy, co rules with God and comes in the clouds. Son of Man title meets multiple attestation criterion and even Jesus Seminar accept Jesus used this title.

Matt. 20:28: even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

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