God is One – not a triune nor a compound deity

shema

God is ONE, this is the core creed of Monotheism. This oneness of God as an aspect of His absolute nature, must be understood properly in order to worship HIM.

Maimonides[1] had laid out a principle to understand the Oneness of God based on the Hebrew Bible. The Oneness which is absolute and unique, a Oneness that knows no parallel:

The Oneness of God, (may He be blessed), which is to say that we believe that God, who is the cause of everything, is ONE.

and not like one of a pair
and not like one of a group
and not like one person that can be divided into many units
and not like a simple body which is numerically one [but] can be infinitely divided.

rather God, may He be blessed, is ONE in a oneness that has no unity like it.
and this is the second principle, [and] it is indicated by that which is stated:

“Hear O Israel, God is our Lord, God is One.”


screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-12-09-55

Maimonides’ 2nd of  13 Principles of Faith shloshah eshor y’sodot


Maimonides ruled out any possibility that the Hebrew adjective echad אחד actually means a “compound unity” like those trinitarian expositors who love to argue that the shema foreshadow trinity.  The oneness of God is independent of anything thus rejects the subtle influences of polytheism which could exist even in a monotheistic system that is to say that the Almighty God ever involved in the act of begetting and came down as man[2].

It is striking that the most important Hebrew creed the Shema remains preserved in the Qur’ān, in Sūrat al-ikhlāṣ:

Surah Al-Ikhlas.gif

1. Say (O Muhammad): “He is Allah, (the) One (Ahad).

2. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).

3. “He begets not, nor was He begotten;

4. “And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”

It employs its Arabic homophonic noun Ahad أَحَد, instead of the more pertinent adjective واحد Wāhid [3].  Muslim scholars have long established that, grammatically the word ahad conveys an uncountable oneness. It is not one in a series like wāhid. It is a singular, unique entity. It is referring specifically to God’s essence, which is absolutely singular and utterly unique in His attributes. No one is like Him in any way[4].

Thus the Qur’an clearly affirms and, at the same time, corrects two powerful earlier creeds, the Shema and the Nicene, and set itself as the ultimate universal monotheistic creed [5].


Notes

  1. Maimonides is also known an as Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Ar: موسى بن ميمون‎‎ Mūsā bin Maymūnor Rambam  (1137 – 1204 CE). He was considered the greatest intellectual and spiritual figure of post-Talmudic Judaism. He wrote authoritative works of philosophy, Halacha, commentary, and responsa. His works were all foundational in their field. He was the first to produce a comprehensive commentary on the entire Mishnah. All of his works were written in Judeo-Arabic except for Mishnah Torah, which was written in Hebrew.  He and his descendants served as Negidim (leaders) of Egyptian jews for five generations.
  2. Nicene creed: “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father”; …”Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man“;
  3. Allah’s name al-Wāhid (the One) appears in twenty-two verses of the Qur’ān. The name al-Ahad appears only once, in the 112th chapter of the Qur’an: al-Ikhlās.
  4. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Seeing, the Hearing.” [Sūrah al-Shūrā: 11]
  5. Angelika Neuwirth, Two Faces of the Qur’ān: Qur’ān and Muṣḥaf, Oral Tradition, 25/1 (2010): p. 151-153.
    Verse 3—”He did not beget nor is he begotten”; lam yalid wa-lam yūlad—is a reverse echo of the Nicene creed; it rejects the emphatic affirmation of Christ’s sonship—begotten, not made; gennêthenta, ou poiêthenta—by a no less emphatic double negation. A negative theology is established through the inversion of a locally familiar religious text. This negative theology is summed up in verse 4—“And there is none like Him”; wa-lam yakun lahu kufuwan aḥad. The verse that introduces a Qur’ānic hapax legomenon, kufuwun, “equal in rank,” to render the core concept of homoousios, not only inverts the Nicene formula of Christ’s being of one substance with God—homoousios to patri—but also forbids thinking of any being as equal in substance with God, let alone a son.
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153 replies

  1. Hi Eric

    Thank you for your thoughtful article. My point relates to your statement:

    “The oneness of God is independent of anything thus rejects the subtle influences of polytheism which could exist even in a monotheistic system that is to say that the Almighty God ever involved in the act of begetting and came down as man[2].”

    The Tanakh in the book of Genesis seems to say something different about Gods involvement in creation:

    “…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” – Genesis 1:2b
    “…and he separated the light from the darkness.”- Genesis 1:4b

    And i think the most striking:

    “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

    Does God not seem intimately involved with the world?

    Like

    • Hi Patrice,

      Thank you for your comment.

      In short, in my reading, I dont see any support in the TaNaKH for a multi parts “God” who takes different role and partake as creatures who involved in creation. The spirit of God in Gen 1:2 is not God Himself. We can even translate the word “spirit” as “wind”. Those could be God’s agents like Angels or any other creations.

      How then we understand passage like 1 Samuel 16:14:
      “And the spirit of God departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from God troubled him.” Same words used as in Gen 1, does this make 4th person of “God” the evil spirit along with the “holy” spirit?

      Gen 1:27 also do not mean that God has humanlike body. I believe God appearance has no paralel with His creations, no physicality He is incorporeal. Therefore when the TaNKH says we are created in His image it means we were given some quality of God, like intelligence, senses, characters etc.

      Like

    • Patrice. You are correct. The Old Testament never portrays God as absolute oneness. Absolute oneness is the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle of which Maimonides was a student. God’s spirit is never spoken of as created but rather God’s breath. His spirit can be grieved and is personal.

      Describing God as oneness as failed Islam because God has oneness and diversity and any description of God must contain them both. The following quote shows how Islamic scholars struggle to hold oneness and diversity together.

      The Ash`aris maintain that the attributes of God are not the essence [dhat] nor are they other than His essence. If it is said that the attributes are the very essence of God (as the Mu`tazilah and philosophers claim), then it means that the essence of God is without attributes since they would be one and the same as the essence (whereas the attributes and essence are understood to be two different things). However, it is also problematic to say that the attributes of God are totally other than His essence, since it would mean that the attributes may exist separately and die away – whereas this is certainly not the case given that his attributes are eternal. The reality is that there is a special connection between His essence and attributes. His attributes exist in His essence, are eternal in His eternalness, and everlasting with His everlastingness. They have always been with Him and will be that way for eternity. (Muhammad Salih Farfur, The Beneficial Message & The Definitive Proof in the Study of Theology, (Trans: Wesam Charkawi) 2010, p. 119)

      This quote is an example of Muslim scholars trying to coherently describe the oneness and diversity of God. That is, Muslim scholars do not simply believe that God only has oneness; they also acknowledge that God has an aspect of diversity. This is very important to realise because Christians and Muslims often assume that it is only Christians who have to explain God’s oneness and diversity when in fact Muslims have to explain it too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Those who were trying to understand God attributes and essence in Islamic tradition never blasphemed too far that god eternally “beget” another equally omnipotent god.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Eric

      Thanks for your response. I would agree that the bible does not talk about a multi-part god however I think this leads into a discussion regarding how Gods power works, does his power when used come from him still be part of him, i.e his essence or does it become something seperate from him while functioning under his will?

      Even with the translation of the word spirit to wind it does not negate the text stating that something comes from God and that thing is still tied to his essence in some fashion:

      “…and the wind of God was hovering over the waters.”

      If the wind is something seperate from him what is it about this force that can still possess an attribute which at this time is found in only God alone which is an eternal attribute? Does this mean that an attribute of God that comes from him then cease to exist?

      Like

    • Hi Patrice,

      Thanks again for your comment. You are probably aware that discussing God essence and attributes really is something discouraged in Islamic tradition so I am not too comfortable with it but I believe that when scriptures talks about something which comes from God, it can only relates to things perceivable to man not the manifestation of God essence which actually interacts with creations.

      For instance the word רֽוּחַ ruach in Gen 1:2 it could be understood in the sense of “Presence of holiness” like in Psalms 51:11. Now I may not hesitate that this presence of God (like the shekinah in tabernacle) can be perceived by man as divine holiness in some sense but not that it represent actual God Himself let alone the innovative triniitatian spin as multi “person” god.

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  2. 1. Christians don’t believe in a multi part God. That’s a misrepresentation of Trinitarian theology.
    2. You can’t simply though wind in for spirit simply because it can mean the same thing. Context determines how we translate the word when it can be ambiguous. It doesn’t make sense to say that the wind of God was hovering over the waters, but it does make sense to say that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    3. No. The evil spirit from God does not equal evil spirit of God. A one word difference debunks that entire assertion.
    3. “Having the “image” or “likeness” of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. Adam did not resemble God in the sense of God’s having flesh and blood. Scripture says that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and therefore exists without a body. However, Adam’s body did mirror the life of God insofar as it was created in perfect health and was not subject to death.

    The image of God (Latin: imago dei) refers to the immaterial part of man. It sets man apart from the animal world, fits him for the dominion God intended him to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables him to commune with his Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.

    Mentally, man was created as a rational, volitional agent. In other words, man can reason and man can choose. This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. Anytime someone invents a machine, writes a book, paints a landscape, enjoys a symphony, calculates a sum, or names a pet, he or she is proclaiming the fact that we are made in God’s image.

    Morally, man was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness. God saw all He had made (mankind included) and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Our conscience or “moral compass” is a vestige of that original state. Whenever someone writes a law, recoils from evil, praises good behavior, or feels guilty, he is confirming the fact that we are made in God’s own image.

    Socially, man was created for fellowship. This reflects God’s triune nature and His love. In Eden, man’s primary relationship was with God (Genesis 3:8 implies fellowship with God), and God made the first woman because “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Every time someone marries, makes a friend, hugs a child, or attends church, he is demonstrating the fact that we are made in the likeness of God.

    Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

    The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).” (https://www.gotquestions.org/image-of-God.html)

    Like

    • If man was “given a righteous nature” and “perfect innocence”, how is there room for “an evil choice”?

      Makes no sense.

      Like

  3. “1. Christians don’t believe in a multi part God. That’s a misrepresentation of Trinitarian theology.”

    Yes it is a misrepresentation of Trinitarian theology. And yes, it is what many Christians believe. Self confessed trinitarians affirm Jesus as “part of God”. They do it all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The problem with Islam is that is built on a foundation that others are polytheists. So when Christians affirm monotheism, Muslims essentially don’t know what to do because their first Koranic presupposition is refuted. This we see the never ending straw men from Muslims.

    Now Eric, can you please tell me how if Allah is absolute unity in his nature, how the Koran or word of Allah is eternal

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    • Word of Allah is part of His attributes and is eternal. In the other hand the paper, the ink, the printed Qur’an are created.
      Muslims dont worship the Qur’an while trinitarians worship creation, a fallible man. That’s idolatrous.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So Allah has parts then?

      In the space of one question I’ve exposed your whole reasoning and argument

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    • God reality is outside of the mind, beyond this perceivable universe but with a true and real existence of His attributes like His Words. But His Words is a true existing reality (haqeeqah) that is unknown and unfathomable to us. Muslims Do NOT even think that God Words are separate entity from God which has its own subsistence (hayaat), knowledge (ilm), wills (iraadah) and power (qudrah) and worst making association as if His Words is separate godhead to worship. A closet polytheism.

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    • Paulus, where does Jesus teach that “God is a singular ontology and multipersonal”? Do not give hints, bring clear proof, or burn in hell. Your Religion is false because you believe as Dr William Craig Lane admitted that Prophet Moses was a disbeliever in the Trinity. There is not he slightet inkling that Moses would have been reciting the nicene creed.

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    • Eric, you’ve just claimed that Allah is unfathomable and unknowable, while at the same time saying his words are somehow a part of him, while trying to say he is absolute unity. Contradiction after contradiction.

      TBH, I’m not even sure Muslims have the slightest clue who or what they worship, evident from your comments. Any time a Muslim tries to elaborate on tawheed they simply end up commuting shirk or repeating something g philosophically irrational.

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    • Paulus, it is sad how you play this game.

      When I say God’s words is “part” of Allah essence it mean it really *is* Allah essence which is eternal so the same as saying it *is* from Allah, …. just drop the “part” words if you like I merely trying use the word to communicate something which hopefully comprehensible to you.

      Your belief is God’s “part” can somehow became human and roamed Palestine 2000 years ago, I dont have the same understanding sorry.

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    • “Your belief is God’s “part” can somehow became human”

      Like I said, a strawman. You know fully well because it has been stated hundreds of time on this blog that Christian believe that Jesus was “fullly God”. You don’t seem to have the slightest desire to represent others fairly.

      Now, if Allah’s attributes are his essence, then clearly he isn’t a unitary monad, but a complex unity, akin to Christian thought. Perhaps you are closer to trinitarianism than you realise.

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    • //Christian believe that Jesus was “fullly God”//

      Now if Jesus is fully god, ..and YHWH is also “fully” god, then why cant you count it as two gods?

      //if Allah’s attributes are his essence, then clearly he isn’t a unitary monad//

      My next question: is Jesus as “person” has his own independent will??

      Absolute definition of a ‘person’ require he has his own personality not just a manifestation or mirror of another ‘person’

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  5. I have had some fantastic discussions with my Jewish friends about the meaning of the name of God in Genesis – Elohim.

    It has different meanings. It is at the same time both one and plural.

    Sorry, but pagan arab moon god worshippers dont bring anything to the table.

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    • Quran 41:37: “And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him”.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. achillies53

    Nobody worships moon here. Are you inviting worse of such an insult against your faith?

    And Elohim followed by singular verb is always singular not plural.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. You cant even construct a simple sentence in English. And your gibberish got liked by 2 people. O dear. I know what Elohim means. You don’t

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  8. Monotheism refers to the oneness of “person” of God. A person is not dependent of attributes, whereas attributes, aspects, names are dependent of person. Person is substance of existence. Relatively, the attributes of God are creation of him.

    Even the inanimate thing can be personified.
    Although a thing has derivative attributes, aspects, names, and features, yet it doesn’t mean there’s no such “one” thing.

    Monotheism is the faith coherently described by Moses to the Jews. That is, a belief that God only has oneness of identity. There’s no aspect of diversity that may be attributed to person of God. This is very important to realise because the Trinitarians and heathens often falsely assume that the word “Elohim” in the Torah indicates God’s diversity of persons (hypostases) whereas “Eloah” refers to the singularity of nature (ousia).

    Monism is a strict “philosophy” (rather than a belief) that postulates the impossibility of absence of any diversity or aspect or attributes of one person.
    Monotheism is a belief in “one person” of God, hence it acknowledges the rational and undeniable diversity aspects wholly dependent on one person.
    Polytheism believes in many persons of God. Polytheism includes the theology of plurality-in-unity, such as Duality, Bi-unity, Trinity, and Trimurti.

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    • So if the attributes are a creation, then in your version of God he is not eternal, since eternality is something he created. How can something not eternal in nature create eternity? Seems rather absurd this so-called “philosophy” don’t you think

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    • Allah created his own infinitude in “ways we can’t understand.” LOL.

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  9. Monotheism refers to the oneness of “person” of God. A person is not dependent of attributes, whereas attributes, aspects, names are dependent of person. Person is substance of existence. Relatively, the attributes of God are creation of him.

    Even the inanimate thing can be personified.
    Although a thing has derivative attributes, aspects, names, and features, yet it doesn’t mean there’s no such “one” thing.

    Monotheism is the faith coherently described by Moses to the Jews. That is, a belief that God only has oneness of identity. There’s no aspect of diversity that may be attributed equally to one person of God. This is very important to realise because the Trinitarians and heathens often falsely assume that the word “Elohim” in the Torah indicates God’s diversity of equal persons (hypostases) whereas “Eloah” refers to the singularity of nature (ousia).

    Monism is a strict “philosophy” (rather than a belief) that postulates the impossibility of absence of any diversity or aspect or attributes of one person.
    Monotheism is a belief in “one person” of God, hence it acknowledges the rational and undeniable diversity aspects wholly dependent on one person.

    Polytheism believes in many persons of God. Polytheism includes the theology of plurality-in-unity, such as Duality, Bi-unity, Trinity, and Trimurti.

    The Greek heathens believe that Zeus and Titans have same nature, whereas the Roman pagans believe that Ianus (of whom the month January is named after) has split-personality facing behind at the year past and ahead at the year to come.

    Like

  10. Good comment by Samuel Green above. In addition, Numbers 13:23 shows that Hebrew and the word Achad אחד can indicate a compound unity; and the plural of Elohim also points to that; as does the “We” and “us” passages in Genesis 1, 11, and Isaiah 6.

    Indeed. I wish I had more time to discuss and debate here.

    1. God Himself
    2. The Word of God – the mind of God always expressing itself in words and communication. (Logos) John 1:1
    3. The Spirit of God – the Qur’an Surah 21:91 also points to this: “We breathed into her something of our Spirit . . . ” (there is nothing about an angel or Gabriel in the Arabic)

    وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

    Shows that God and His Word and His Spirit have the same nature and substance.

    Also, By calling Jesus “a word from Allah” and “a spirit from Allah”, (Surah 4:171; 3:45) the Qur’an itself could not totally get away from hints at the Trinity, although it clearly denies a caricature of the doctrine in other places, thinking Mary was a part of the Trinity – Surah 5:72-78; 5:116; 6:101, etc.

    Just by affirming the virgin birth of Christ and seeking to honor the historical person born of the virgin Mary, the prophet Jesus in some way, the Qur’an and Islam could not help but also in places allude to His Deity and the doctrine of the Trinity.

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    • The Trinitarian Polytheist is so used to misrepresenting the Bible that he sees the Trinity everywhere, even in the Qur’an! Why should we be surprised when the Polytheist claims that the OT is Trinitarian? Truly, ” the worst creatures” are Christians.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “the worst of creatures” in Surah 98:6 seems like a contradiction to Surah 5:82
      You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.

      Like

    • You claim that is a contradiction but Mark 2:26 is not a contradiction of 1 Samuel 21:1? Wow mad! Even the harmonization of this has been throughly debunked by Dr Ehrman and many others including Mike Licona! So you agree the Bible is a corrupt lie? Why do you not listen to Jeremiah who said ”The Bible has been corrupted by those who wrote it Down” ?

      Surah 98:6 is about a different context to Surah 5:82. One is referring to the example of King Negash who gave rufuge to muslims and his priests etc and possibly to generally Clergy like Dr Jerald Dirks. One is referring to people like Nabeel Qureshi, the worst of all creatures. But Mark 2: 26, well that just proves, where you are going!

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    • Dr. Dan Wallace, professor of NT and Greek scholar wrote on the seeming contradiction between Mark 2:26 and 1 Sam. 21:1-7 –
      “As for view 5, my preference right now is to take the prepositional phrase as meaning “in the days of Abiathar the high priest.” Although Mark apparently does not employ the temporal use of this preposition elsewhere, he almost surely does so here—for both “when Abiathar was high priest” and “in the days of Abiathar the high priest” are temporal expressions. Further, the construction ἐπί + genitive noun is frequently used with a temporal sense outside of Mark—with a meaning similar to ‘in the days of…’ BDAG lists numerous biblical and patristic references under ἐπί with a genitive for time, all in the sense of “in the time of, under (kings or other rulers).” Cf., e.g., Luke 4:27 (‘in the time of Elisha’), Luke 3:2 (‘in the time of the high priest, Annas and Caiaphas’) and even Mark 2:26 (‘in the time of Abiathar the high priest’). ”

      This is at the conclusion of a long article on all the issues at bible.org

      There are no ultimate contradictions in the Scriptures; there are some apparent tensions, but deeper study and scholarship has good answers for all the difficulties.

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    • How does Dr Wallace’s explaination prove that there is no contradiction? Either way Dr Ehrman rejects his explanation as do 99.99999 percent of scholars. Dr Wallace has an agenda behind his explanation, to promote his theological fabrications and biases. Whilst the rest of the experts want to get to the truth.

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  11. “The Ash`aris maintain that the attributes صفت و صفات of God are not the essence [dhat] ذات (other words for the essence is جوهر and ماهية )
    nor are they other than His essence.”

    The Quote that Samuel Green brought is very good.

    The Ash`aris maintain that the attributes of God are not the essence [dhat] nor are they other than His essence. If it is said that the attributes are the very essence of God (as the Mu`tazilah and philosophers claim), then it means that the essence of God is without attributes since they would be one and the same as the essence (whereas the attributes and essence are understood to be two different things). However, it is also problematic to say that the attributes of God are totally other than His essence, since it would mean that the attributes may exist separately and die away – whereas this is certainly not the case given that his attributes are eternal. The reality is that there is a special connection between His essence and attributes. His attributes exist in His essence, are eternal in His eternalness, and everlasting with His everlastingness. They have always been with Him and will be that way for eternity. (Muhammad Salih Farfur, The Beneficial Message & The Definitive Proof in the Study of Theology, (Trans: Wesam Charkawi) 2010, p. 119)

    “The Word” and “the Spirit of God” are even deeper and closer concepts to the essence, than attributes like holiness, love, mercy, sovereignty, power, wisdom, goodness.

    The doctrine of the Trinity protects Monotheism and explains the 3 persons and Scriptural data in a way that does not contradict Monotheism.

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    • If each person of the Trinity is fully God, then Trinitarianism breaches monotheism BIG TIME.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not if there is only one God, which the doctrine of the Trinity proclaims; and the persons share the one nature/essence in three persons. God is one being/ substance / essence / nature.

      Like

    • so the Father is not 100% God?

      Liked by 1 person

    • where do you get that from?

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    • That logic doesn’t work Paul.

      Eric above has said that Allah is eternl and that his word is eternal.
      Would you argue that Eric believes in two eternal?

      Be fair in your reasoning.

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    • Paulus Allah’s word is not a distinct divine person lol.. that’s a key difference 🙂

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    • The dispute between muslims about the attributes of Allah has nothing to do whatsoever with christians’ saying that there are 3 persons and each of them is a fully god who has his own identity, will,and mind, yet there’s only one god.
      There’s no comparison between the 2 issues. They are dramatically different situations.

      Liked by 1 person

    • True, the discourse about God’s true existing reality (haqeeqah) in Islamic tradition never go beyond the boundary that God consists of separate entities which has its own subsistence (hayaat), knowledge (ilm), wills (iraadah) and power (qudrah) and then making association as if those entities each is a separate godheads to worship.

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    • Omar,

      I assume you believe that Allah’s word is eternal. If so, something eternal incarnated in this world in the form of a book- your Koran.

      So, yes, you are basically a closet trinitarian when push comes to shove.

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    • Paulus..lol…your joking right!?…lol.. .Paulus yes Allah’s word is eternal However Allah’s word is not a distinct person, neither is the divine essence of His word incarnated or enclosed in the pages of a book…Allah’s eternal words knowledge wisdom have alway subsisted from eternity. The fact that Allah’s word or knowledge have been articulated in letters and words contained in a book does not change the fact that His words and Knowledge are eternal

      Now trinitarianism however postulates the Word of God, a distinct divine person, The Son of God who shares the same essence of divinity actually incarnated in a human being Jesus the man, living within the human flesh.

      .your analogy for comparing Allah’s word contained in a book …with a divine person, the Word and Son of God that shares the same essence of divinity with God the father living in human flesh is like comparing chalk and cheese lol..

      nice try Paulus 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. «Maimonides ruled out any possibility that that the Hebrew adjective echad אחד actually means a “compound unity” like those trinitarian expositors»

    Maimonides stated his belief that such was not the case, but he did not gives us a real reason to think eHad in Deuteronomy 6:4 precludes a multipersonal ontology for God. Certainly the word eHad itself does not preclude such (e.g. cf. `am eHad in Genesis 11:6).

    «the most important Hebrew creed the Shema remains preserved in the Qur’ān, in Sūrat al-ikhlāṣ»

    Nothing in that sūra precludes a multipersonal conception of God, either.

    «Muslim scholars have long established that, grammatically the word ahad conveys an uncountable oneness.»

    But what would be the justification for such an assertion? For example, Google the phrase āHad al-qabā’il (احد القبائل), and you’ll get tens of thousands of hits in which āHad is employed, referring to a particular tribe (and that tribe no doubt comprises multiple persons). This can also be gleaned by exploring other verses in the Qur’ān employing āHad (especially those where the word is employed to refer to a human person, e.g. sūrat āl-Mu’minūn 23:99, sūrat āl-Zukh’ruf 43:17, sūrat āl-Hujurāt 49:12). Interestingly, even in sūrat āl-IkhlāS this question comes up with the very last word. Presumably the verse at the end means I am not equal to God, and you are not equal to God. If that is correct, then the word āHad at the end of the sūra can encompass and (indirectly) refer to you, or me, or any other created thing. It certainly is not limited to merely uncountable, indivisible, monadic entities.

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    • Well said

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    • The meaning of al-Ahad is the Unique, who is forever One and has never and will never have another alongside Him. (al-Nihaayah, 1/35).

      Allaah is Unique in His Oneness, in being One in His essence and attributes. Some (scholars) differentiated between al-Waahid and al-Ahad by saying that al-Waahid refers to His being one in His essence only, whilst al-Ahad means that He is one in both His essence and His attributes. (Tafseer Asmaa’ Allaah by al-Zajjaaj, p. 58).

      And it was said that al-Waahid means He is unique in His essence and does not have any peer or rival, and al-Ahad is Unique in His attributes. So al-Waahid is one in and of Himself, and al-Ahad means being one in His attributes. Al-Ahad is one of the attributes of Allaah which belong uniquely to Him, and in which nothing else has a share. (Lisaan al-‘Arab –Ahad – 1/35; wahida 8/4779 – 4783). Allaah is al-Waahid al-Ahad, and has no second, no partner, no peer and no rival. He is al-Waahid upon Whom His slaves depend and Whom they seek. They do not put their trust in anyone except Him. (Ishtiqaaq Asmaa’ Allaah, 90-93). He is al-Waahid and there is none like unto Him. Everything other than Him that is called one in some aspect will not be one in many other aspects. (Sha’n al-Du’aa’, 82-83)

      https://islamqa.info/en/10282

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings `Omar

      With all due respect, I don’t see how that copy and paste from a translation of a statement by Shaykh āl-Munajid is helpful. It merely puts forth a number of assertions (interestingly about āHad with the definite article, while my post was discussing instances without such, though I realize the text also briefly appeals to sūrat āl-IkhlāS). Shaykh āl-Munajid was not responding to my post, so he cannot be blamed for not adequately addressing the points in my post, but it nonetheless remains the case that the points in my post are not addressed by what you shared.

      So here’s the essential question(s): if an entity is described as, or referred to by the word, āHad, does that necessitate that the entity in question is indivisible? does it the word āHad preclude the possibility that the entity in question is multipersonal (i.e. that it comprises multiple persons)? If so, on what grounds? And note that “because some orthodox Muslim writers asserted such” is not an adequate answer. I would request that one attempt to grapple with the examples I appealed to in my first post (e.g. where āHad refers to a tribe, or a human person, or the instance of the word at the end of sūrat āl-IkhlāS).

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    • Why did Moses, to whom God revealed a Book upon which Jesus (your god) substantiates his very justification of being sent by God, never explained the “multipersonal ontology” of God? Or at the very least warned the Israelities and Mankind, that when God comes in the Flesh as Jesus, that we should absolutely believe that he is YHWH? And that YHWH will die for your Sins? Christian doctrines i.e Trinity, Vicarious Atonement, etc all are actively opposed by the Tanakh. For instance Isaiah 9:6 has always been used to support the deity of Christ, but this blog has exposed what Rabbis always knew: the verse has nothing with Jesus, or with Jesus being God. All similar OT texts from the Tanakh used by Christians to prove that Jesus is the Messiah have been debunked as shocking misrepresentations and all OT texts used by your camp to prove that Jesus is the 2nd Person of the Trinity have been established to be evidence of Serious Mental Illness afflicting the Church gasping for Money and Nuns as objects of Pleasure. Why dod you do this?

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    • The Qur’an specifically mentions that those who worship Jesus will burn in the eternal flames of hell. It also mentions that do not say “Three Trinitas Trinity” for ” God is One” clearly implying that multipersonal ontology of God is polytheism. So in this Islamic context of monothiesm, there exists an absolutely singular definition of Monotheism–the Islamic One, anything else is Polytheism. According to Christian Belief Islam is monotheistic and the same for Judaism, they both regard Islam as Monotheistic. Even the Unitarian Christians regard Islam as Monotheisic. But all 3 Faiths condemn Christianity as Polytheism. You are the one taking the maximum risk of breaching monotheism. Muslims will be Monotheisic–even if we are wrong and you are right!!! Wow! Also, even more shockingly, you can not be sure that those verses that regard Jesus as God etc were in the autographs since you do not have them! And even more bad news for you, there is strong evidence of textual corruption in the Bible such as Mark 16 :9-20; Ist Epistle of John 5 : 6-7, the famous case of Jesus and the adultress etc so we have solid proof that the Bible has had corruptions and you can not prove that much more substantial corruption has not occured and these forgieries plus the apocrypha serve as proof that there was widespread biblical corruption. So your belief of Jesus as god could be based upon corrupt text, further being misinterpreted through the lens of the Chruch

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    • very simple Denis…context is the Key – in reference to Ahad when applied to Allah, Quranic context dictates He is not a plurality of persons forming one being… neither is the notion of plurality of persons forming one God conceptualized in the bible…

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    • Greetings JPfNSoA

      With all due respect, much of what you typed seems to diverge from what was being discussed in my post(s). I was attempting to explore the claim(s) that eHad (אחד) and/or āHad (احد) preclude the possibility that an entity referred to by either word is divisible or comprises multiple persons. Much of what you raised (e.g. whether God died for our sins, Isaiah 9:6, Old Testament references to Jesus, money hungry churches, nuns as objects of pleasure[!!!], textual variants, the “Apocrypha”) diverges from that, so I would prefer we discuss such things elsewhere, and stay on topic in this subthread.

      However, I will address the following:

      «[The Qur’ān] mentions that do not say “Three Trinitas Trinity” for ” God is One” clearly implying that multipersonal ontology of God is polytheism»

      Sūrat ān-Nisā’ 4:171 reads, in part, lā yaqūlū thalāthat[un] (“do not say three”). That immediately begs the question: three what? What sort of unit are we quantifying? The verse continues: Allahu ilah[un] wāHid[un] (“God is one god”). It seems clear that the unit being quantified is gods. That would mean the text precludes saying there are three gods. The verse does not, however, clearly preclude the possibility of the one God comprising three Persons.

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    • Greetings `Omar

      «context is the Key – in reference to Ahad when applied to Allah, Quranic context dictates He is not a plurality of persons forming one being»

      Can this context be found in sūrat āl-IkhlāS? If not, is it found elsewhere in the Qur’ān? Could you elaborate?

      In my reading of the Qur’ān, I’ve never come across anything that clearly precludes a multipersonal conception of God (though I am well aware of the fact that orthodox Muslims interpret a number of passages therein as doing so.

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    • “That would mean the text precludes saying there are three gods”
      Trinity of today is worshiping 3 gods with no doubt.
      Don’t say three! Just stop. It’s easy.
      If somebody has the trinity in the sense of modalism, then stop thinking that.

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    • “qabā’il (احد القبائل), and you’ll get tens of thousands of hits in which āHad is employed, referring to a particular tribe (and that tribe no doubt comprises multiple persons). This can also be gleaned by exploring other verses in the Qur’ān employing āHad (especially those where the word is employed to refer to a human person, e.g. sūrat āl-Mu’minūn 23:99, sūrat āl-Zukh’ruf 43:17, sūrat āl-Hujurāt 49:12). Interestingly, even in sūrat āl-IkhlāS this question comes up with the very last word. Presumably the verse at the end means I am not equal to God, and you are not equal to God. If that is correct, then the word āHad at the end of the sūra can encompass and (indirectly) refer to you, or me, or any other created thing. It certainly is not limited to merely uncountable, indivisible, monadic entities.”

      ???
      What the heck is that exactly? 🙂
      Why do christian try desperately to change the language and its meanings to fit their imagination with the nonses trinity?!
      I mean you couldn’t do it with the Hebrew, so seriously do you think you can do it with Arabic?
      ============
      Why in the world would a three persons, each of whom is fully God refer to themselves as one God? What’s the point? It’s better to say 3 gods who work with each other in harmony.
      ============
      In Arabic when I describe someone as one, I would say ‘shakes wahed’. Yet when I try to distinguish someone, I would say ‘ahad alshkas’. Ahad refers to the uniqueness of that one while he’s One.
      Both Ahad and Wahed could be used to describe any thing as one.
      Do we say that each person in that particular tribe that he is the tribe itself?!
      Nabeel Qureshi, the fake ex muslims, used that stupid argument, and I’ve no idea why christians keep repeating it?!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You said:

      Sūrat ān-Nisā’ 4:171 reads, in part, lā yaqūlū thalāthat[un] (“do not say three”). That immediately begs the question: three what? What sort of unit are we quantifying? The verse continues: Allahu ilah[un] wāHid[un] (“God is one god”). It seems clear that the unit being quantified is gods. That would mean the text precludes saying there are three gods. The verse does not, however, clearly preclude the possibility of the one God comprising three Persons.

      The Three refers to the three persons of the Trinity and makes it clear that this conception of the Three being God is Tritheism from the Islamic perspective, which it is, since Islamic concept of God is Unitarian which is why Allahu ilah[un] wāHid[un] (“God is one god”). indicating that the Trinitarian doctrine is a violation of monotheism since it is Tritheistic.

      The Qur’an rejects the possibility of Jesus being God and regards this as Blashphemous, so that knocks out one member of the Trinity. Then the Quran mentions the ”Three” or Trinitas and rejects that and connects that with a breach of Monotheism therefore repeating Allahu ilah[un] wāHid[un] (“God is one god”). This an many other verses are ample proof that the Islamic concept of God is Strictly Unitarian. Additionally, there Quran keeps repeating God is One and in every instance all other philosophies and religious doctrines are criticisized for being Polytheistic and links this with ”God is One” implying that the Islamic concept of Monotheism is much more radical than any other to the point that even obeidience is a form of worship and obiedience to men in opposition to God is Shirk polytheism!

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    • Salām yā `Abdullah

      «Trinity of today is worshiping 3 gods with no doubt.»

      I disagree, but debate about the nuances and implications of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity seems beyond the scope of the question of if when āHad is used to refer to a thing, does it preclude that thing from comprising multiple persons.

      «Don’t say three!»

      Three what? The verse goes on to clarify: there is only one God. Ergo, don’t say there are three gods.

      «Why in the world would a three persons, each of whom is fully God refer to themselves as one God?»

      Rather than us going off on a segue about interpreting an English translation of a Chalcedonian (Greek) concept, it might be better for us to focus on the primary question, which is whether using āHad to refer to a thing necessarily precludes that thing from comprising multiple persons.

      «In Arabic when I describe someone as one, I would say ‘shakes wahed’. Yet when I try to distinguish someone, I would say ‘ahad alshkas’. Ahad refers to the uniqueness of that one while he’s One.»

      The question is, does the use of āHad preclude that unique one from comprising parts or more specifically persons? It does not, correct?

      «Do we say that each person in that particular tribe that he is the tribe itself?!»

      No, we do not, nor did I claim such was the case. The point was that the phrase āHad āl-qabā’il does not preclude the relevant tribe from comprising multiple persons. Do you agree with that?

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    • Greetings again, JPfNSoA

      «The Three refers to the three persons of the Trinity»

      What textual indicators point to the conclusion that the ‘three’ is quantifying persons? The fact that, as I mentioned, the text transitions into saying there is only one God seems to make clear the ‘three’ is quantifying gods.

      «Islamic concept of God is Unitarian»

      The orthodox Islāmic position is undoubtedly Unitarian, but does the Qur’ān clearly take a Unitarian position? I’m not sure that it does.

      «Allahu ilah[un] wāHid[un] (“God is one god”). indicating that the Trinitarian doctrine is a violation of monotheism since it is Tritheistic.»

      The verse certainly rejects tritheism (as do I), but the text does not say that a belief that one God comprising three Persons necessarily constitutes such.

      «The Qur’an rejects the possibility of Jesus being God»

      Depends what we mean. The Qur’ān most certainly rejects the notion of Jesus being a distinct god, other than the one God. It does not, to my knowledge, explicitly rule out the possibility that Jesus is an “aspect” of God who shares the divine nature with the one God.

      «many other verses are ample proof that the Islamic concept of God is Strictly Unitarian.»

      Sūrat ān-Nisā’ 4:171 is not clearly Unitarian. You have yet to show any other passages.

      «Quran keeps repeating God is One»

      Agreed. But it does not say whether that one God is unipersonal or multipersonal. It seems to leave the question open.

      By the way, recall that I expressed my hope that we could stay on the subject of āHad. Do you have no comment on that subject (which was the primary topic of the subthread)?

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    • With the name of Allah

      Hi Denis,

      I amazed that you bring this type of argumentation, that the Hebrew word אֶחָד echad and arabic احد Ahad could mean multi-ones.

      This assertion is rather absurd, of course The word “one” works the same way in any language what it means: one alone. It is from extra information that we can say it means many things as one or as one GROUP or one SET. If tell you that I have one kid. I will be very surprise if you insist it should mean i have one group of kids unless I gave you more information. So it does not work that way.

      Not only that the Qur’an never give any indication that Ahad means one group, it set the condition of what kind of one is this attribute of God that is لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ laysa kamithli-Hi shay’un.. NOTHING like HIM, (42:11) the One and Only, the ultimate Oneness, as in the words of Imam Qurtuby “He Who has no parallel, no helper no associate, not begotten, no partner” الذي لا شبيه له ولا نظير ولا صاحبة ، ولا ولد ولا شريك

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    • Contextually the word Huwa in sūrat āl-Ikhlās of Al-Qur’ān refers to the singularity. Otherwise, if you wish it for the composition of multipersonal entity you have to use “Alladhi” or “Annahum”.

      Moreover, Al-Qur’ān uses the word Wāhid for the compound unity, such as Ummatan Wāhidatan in 2:213, 11:18, 43:33. The word āhadukum (word kum may be for singular, plural more than two, and compound unity) is used to specify *one* person of *one* group.

      Additionally, let us suppose for the sake of argument that you insist āhad of 112:1 for a compound unity, yet the second use of āhad in verse 112:4 preceded by important word Lahu (meaning *him* in absolute one with singular sense) effectively excludes anyone of possible composites or multiple persons – that you supposed – from being one “within” him.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Denis Giron would you be willing to debate/discuss this exact topic of ehad and ahad and the fact that does rhe Quran preclude the possibility of a multi personal God with Ijaz Ahmad on a video chat online?? Please say yes, you are clearly a clever young man!

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    • “No, we do not, nor did I claim such was the case. The point was that the phrase āHad āl-qabā’il does not preclude the relevant tribe from comprising multiple persons”
      But the whole point is about your saying that each person is fully god, yet it’s one god.
      Wahed, Ahad, Waheed, all of them could be used with one tribe, yet when I describe the tribe, I wouldn’t say Qabeelah Ahadah! That doesn’t work in Arabic. I’ve to say Qabeelah Wahedah or Waheedah.
      BTW, in the whole NT, it’s only the father who is described by theses labels ( THE ONE GOD/ THE ONLY TRUE GOD)

      Don’t say three!
      Three parts, three forms, and three persons. The whole matter of three must be finished, yet three persons is invloved with polytheism, and christians cannot escape from this fact by any of the nonsense explanation that they try desperately to provide.

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    • “… when āHad is used to refer to a thing, does it preclude that thing from comprising multiple persons.”

      When āHad or eHad is used to refer to the Divine Self, it precludes that Self from comprising multiple persons in the trinitarian sense.

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    • Greetings gentlemen

      [Nota Bene: This post will contain responses to Eric, Anonymous, JPfNSoA, Abdullah and Burhanuddin]

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      Eric wrote
      «I amazed that you bring this type of argumentation, that the Hebrew word אֶחָד echad and arabic احد Ahad could mean multi-ones.»

      I think it is clear that either word can be employed to refer to entities which contain multiple parts and even entities which encompass multiple persons.

      Eric wrote
      «This assertion is rather absurd, of course The word “one” works the same way in any language what it means: one alone. It is from extra information that we can say it means many things as one or as one GROUP or one SET.»

      There is nothing absurd about saying that the phrase “one X” does not preclude that X from comprising multiple Ys (where Y is a sort of thing somewhat different from X).

      Eric wrote:
      «If tell you that I have one kid. I will be very surprise if you insist it should mean i have one group of kids»

      You seem to be quantifying the same units each time. How about you have one kid, and that kid has a single body which comprises many bones and muscles. Is that absurd? Does the word “one” preclude such a possibility?

      Eric wrote:
      «Not only that the Qur’an never give any indication that Ahad means one group»

      I would say that the Qur’ān does not unambiguously employ the word āHad in refernce to an entity which comprises multiple persons. But of course that does not mean it therefore cannot refer to an entity which comprises multiple persons.

      Eric wrote:
      «this attribute of God that is لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ laysa kamithli-Hi shay’un.. NOTHING like HIM, (42:11)»

      The phrase laysa ka-mithlihi shay certainly establishes that God is ultimately different from any other thing. But that in itself does not preclude God from comprising multiple Persons. On the contrary, a multipersonal being could be unlike anything else that exists.

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      Anonymous wrote:
      «Contextually the word Huwa in sūrat āl-Ikhlās of Al-Qur’ān refers to the singularity.»

      The pronoun (or, in some cases, copula) huwa is masculine singular, but it need not refer only to unipersonal entities. For a very quick example, consider the following article about a German soccer player:

      http://arabic.cnn.com/sport/2016/08/24/schweinstieger-man-utd

      It quotes him as saying that Manchester United is the last team that he would play for in Europe (مانشستر يونايتد هو آخر فريق سألعب له في أوروبا). Notice that both (هو) and (له) are employed to refer to that team. The same is the case in other Semitic languages: such masculine singular pronouns and suffixes can be employed to refer to even a masculine singular entity which happens to comprise multiple persons.

      Anonymous wrote:
      «The word āhadukum … is used to specify *one* person of *one* group»

      Agreed. And the previously mentioned phrase āHad āl-qabā’il is referring to *one* specific tribe from among a group of tribes. The point is only that employing āHad to refer to a thing does not have to entail that the thing is indivisible. The word can even be used to refer to a thing that comprises multiple persons.

      Anonymous wrote:
      «let us suppose for the sake of argument that you insist āhad of 112:1 for a compound unity, yet the second use of āhad in verse 112:4 preceded by important word Lahu (meaning *him* in absolute one with singular sense) effectively excludes anyone of possible composites or multiple persons – that you supposed – from being one “within” him.»

      See the link quoting the German soccer player, above. Interestingly, in another thread on this blog (the one on Daniel 7:13-14), we are discussing how the corresponding Aramaic term leh (له=לה) can be used to refer to a masculine singular entity which comprises multiple persons. This is the way Semitic languages work.

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      JPfNSoA asked:
      «would you be willing to debate/discuss this exact topic of ehad and ahad and the fact that does rhe Quran preclude the possibility of a multi personal God with Ijaz Ahmad on a video chat online?»

      Video chat is actually difficult for me. Almost all my internet activity is conducted either from a computer at work (which does not have video capabilities) or my humble little phone when I have time (e.g. during my commute to and from work, or during less demanding moments of family duty). Hence I prefer text based correspondences. Of course Ijaz does not need my permission to post here, and I doubt there is anything that can be said in a video chat that cannot be typed, here.

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      Abdullah wrote:
      «the whole point is about your saying that each person is fully god, yet it’s one god.»

      That’s not a point for me, as I did not even introduce such a concept in this thread. I simply want to explore the claim that using āHad to refer to a thing precludes that thing from comprising multiple parts (and especially multiple persons).

      We could get into a long drawn out discussion about how I understand Chalcedonian terminology, but it strikes me as a distraction from the topic. Are you saying that an entity referred to via āHad can comprise multiple persons, so long as those persons are not “fully god” (whatever we think that means)?

      Abdullah wrote:
      «Don’t say three! Three parts, three forms, and three persons.»

      This is your interpretation, but the text itself does not necessitate that it is also quantifying parts, forms, persons. The text initially leaves the question open as to what sorts of units are being quantified, but the fact that it then positively asserts that only one God exists seems to make clear that it is gods that are being quantified. In other words, the proximity of the command to not say three and the declaration that there is only one God seems to have the latter as a contrast to the former.

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      Burhanuddin1
      «When āHad or eHad is used to refer to the Divine Self, it precludes that Self from comprising multiple persons in the trinitarian sense.»

      That is certainly the position of the orthodox Muslims, here. But it begs the same question: why should others agree with such a claim? Are there textual indicators in the Qur’ān which necessitate such a view?

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    • With the name of Allah

      Shalom Denis,

      «Not only that the Qur’an never give any indication that Ahad means one group»

      //I would say that the Qur’ān does not unambiguously employ the word āHad in refernce to an entity which comprises multiple persons. But of course that does not mean it therefore cannot refer to an entity which comprises multiple persons.//

      Nor that the Qur’an employ the word Ahad in reference to an entity which comprises multiple essences or attributes or manifestations, or incarnation or “modes” or  whatever you may want to have your own category. Does  not mean it therefore cannot refer to an entity which comprises multiple modes for example that God has revealed Himself in three modes or forms consecutively? I would say this type of argumentation is absurd no wonder this  leads to various innovation in christendom in properly understanding the Oneness of God.
      «this attribute of God that is لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ laysa kamithli-Hi shay’un.. NOTHING like HIM, (42:11)»

      //The phrase laysa ka-mithlihi shay certainly establishes that God is ultimately different from any other thing. But that in itself does not preclude God from comprising multiple Persons. On the contrary, a multipersonal being could be unlike anything else that exists.//

      I would argue that “god” who incarnate to become human who walked the earth as human and was in flesh and bone is certainly anything like human legends and folklore have ever produced in the ancient world. The reports of alien close encounters in the modern era will make a stronger case for laysa kamithli-Hi shay’  “god” if that is the case.

      So laysa kamithli-Hi shay’  (cf. 112: 4) is among the strongest foundation in the Qur’an for the assertion of God’s complete and utter transcendence (at-tanzīh al kulli) التنزيه على كل . the ka كَ in  ka mithli-Hi, which literally reads “like His likeness” is understood by the vast majority of mufassir as the added for emphasis for incomparibility of God to anything human ever imagine. It affirms God transcendent distance from humanity: not like human, not like superhuman, not like demigod, not like godman “Nothing is like Him.” This is really fundamental in God Oneness.

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    • DG,
      “how I understand Chalcedonian terminology”
      It’s not about the terminology! It’s about the reality of your belief. I’m not aware of Chalcedonian’s creeds.
      Can you explain your view trinity and how it’s not a mere polytheism?

      You said the question is open! Man, that verse was talking about christians. The matter of 3 in christianity is a mere polytheism. Once you start playing with terminology, everything will be justified. That why we keep asking you to stop doing that.
      If someone worshipped a statue, yet he didn’t call it god, does that means he is not an idol worshiper?

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    • Salām yā `Abdullah

      Abdullah wrote:
      «It’s not about the terminology! It’s about the reality of your belief. I’m not aware of Chalcedonian’s creeds.»

      When you use a phrase like “fully God,” you are employing a popular English translation of a phrase employed in the Chalcedonian creed. How you interpret that English phrase might differ from how I interpret the Greek phrase behind it. So that is very much about terminology, and discussions on the nuances here will take us away from the question of textual indicators and the semantic range of the Semitic construction A7D (احد אחד).

      Abdullah wrote:
      «Can you explain your view trinity»

      Yes, I could, but why do so? An atheist could ask the same questions I asked here. Therefore what specificially I believe is not entirely relevant to the actual topic.

      Abdullah wrote:
      «You said the question is open! Man, that verse was talking about christians.»

      The verse is addressed to the “āhl āl-kitāb” (people of Scripture), and more specifically, professed believers in Jesus among them, but not necessarily orthodox Christians. The verse does not strike me as obviously attacking the proper, orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, but rather a more extreme belief in literally three gods. And I’m not the only one to make this observation. On the contrary, Nasr, Dagli, Dakake & Lumbard’s Study Quran (HarperOne, 2015) has a note on the relevant verse (i.e. sūrat ān-Nisā’ 4:171) which includes the following observation:

        «In both the present verse and 5:73, however, the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as three “persons,” or hypostases, “within” the One God is not explicitly referenced, and the criticism seems directed at those who assert the existence of three distinct “gods,” an idea that Christians themselves reject»

      Regarding your question about worship and idolatry, even that depends on what we mean by “worship”. You can see some brief thoughts from me on the subject, here (but I wish to add the caveat that presumably we are referring to a created entity, which is not a “part”/aspect/extension of God, and which had no role in our creation):

      I must say that I am somewhat alarmed that, at this point, we are not discussing the semantic range of the Semitic construction A7D (احد אחד), at all. That was the original subject of my first comment, at the start of this subthread.

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    • «Denis Giron: The pronoun (or, in some cases, copula) huwa is masculine singular, but it need not refer only to unipersonal entities. »

      Denis, apparently you misunderstand the function of the word Huwa chosen to construct the context of passage. On the contrary, the use of word Huwa doesn’t any longer acknowledge multipersonal entities within the subject thereof, rather it eliminates them.
      If the word Huwa is used for one personified compound, it cannot be re-used again for any member, lest the member would have redundantly owned *double* person.

      «Denis Giron: Notice that both (هو) and (له) are employed to refer to that team. The same is the case in other Semitic languages: such masculine singular pronouns and suffixes can be employed to refer to even a masculine singular entity which happens to comprise multiple persons.»

      Denis, do you presume each soccer player has “two” persons: his own person and his team’s person? Of course you don’t.
      In fact, the choice of using the word Huwa for one team (to personify one team) is intended to rather let aside various, separate, divisible persons “within” one team.
      Otherwise would you have concurred that each player has two persons after he joins a team?

      «Denis Giron: Agreed. And the previously mentioned phrase āHad āl-qabā’il is referring to *one* specific tribe from among a group of tribes. The point is only that employing āHad to refer to a thing does not have to entail that the thing is indivisible. The word can even be used to refer to a thing that comprises multiple persons.»

      The use of āHad related to āl-qabā’il is intended to refer to one indivisible tribe. Otherwise, do you presume each clan member has “two” persons (as one of his own, and another else of his personifying tribe, if you will)?

      «Denis Giron: See the link quoting the German soccer player, above. Interestingly, in another thread on this blog (the one on Daniel 7:13-14), we are discussing how the corresponding Aramaic term leh (له=לה) can be used to refer to a masculine singular entity which comprises multiple persons. This is the way Semitic languages work.»

      I am sure you understand the ridiculous implication of making two or more persons when personifying one member of one group.

      Like

    • I think it is worth mentioning that the way of placinng Arabic word āhad in sūrat āl-Ikhlās (twice, at 112:1, 112:4) as well as Hebrew word ‘echād in Shemā’ at the end of passage must mean something theologically important that God is indivisible, not member of compound entity, having only one person.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “How you interpret that English phrase might differ from how I interpret the Greek phrase behind it”
      That why I asked you about your view of the trinity.

      “The verse is addressed to the “āhl āl-kitāb” (people of Scripture), and more specifically, professed believers in Jesus among them, but not necessarily orthodox Christians”
      So that verse was talking about those who believe in Jesus with matter of three, but’s it’s not about christians?
      The ordinary person is supposed to understand that it’s talking about other people among āhl āl-kitāb?
      Look man, Quran as deep it is, it’s so simple too. We don’t need to twist our mind.
      The matter of three is about the trinity.
      What you referred in the Study Quran is one thing among many that I don’t agree with that book.

      The point is that christians try to say that Ahad involves many persons!, but that is not true. The opposite is the true.

      Like

    • Omar«context is the Key – in reference to Ahad when applied to Allah, Quranic context dictates He is not a plurality of persons forming one being»

      Denis;Can this context be found in sūrat āl-IkhlāS? If not, is it found elsewhere in the Qur’ān? Could you elaborate?

      easy 🙂

      In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
      1 Say: **He** is Allah, the One and Only;
      2 Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
      3 **He** begetteth not, nor is **He** begotten;
      4 And there is none like unto **Him**.

      Applying Quranic exegesis **He** Allah is one person only!..unless you can find examples where ‘He’ or ‘Him’ in reference to Allah and his unique oneness ‘ahad’ contextually denotes multiple persons that comprise one being!?…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings (shalom/salām) Eric

      You say my point (that just because the Qur’ān does not unambiguously employ āHad in a certain way, that does not mean āHad cannot be employed in that way) is “absurd,” but it seems to me there are two options, here:

      (1) It is possible for `Arabic locutions to be employed in ways which are not found unambiguously in the Qur’ān, which is to say the `Arabic language is more expansive than what is explicit in the Qur’ān.

      (2) It is NOT possible for `Arabic locutions to be employed in ways which are not found unambiguously in the Qur’ān, which is to say the `Arabic language is limited to only that which is explicit in the Qur’ān.

      Proposition (1) represents my position. You seem to be coming close to taking the position in proposition (2), and, with all due respect, the latter of the two propositions seems to clearly be the far more absurd. It should be obvious that the `Arabic language can be more expansive than what is unambiguous and explicit in the Qur’ān.

      Moreover, as far as this applies to specifically the question of whether āHad can be employed to refer to an entity which encompasses multiple persons, that has already been demonstrated, in my first post in this thread, via an appeal to, for example, a phrase like āHad al-qabā’il. So, yes, it is plainly obvious that even if the Qur’ān does not unambiguously employ the word in that way, that does not mean the word cannot be employed in that way.

      Your insinuated approach would undermine much of Qur’ānic interpretation. On any subject, imagine people having this exchange:

      Person 1: this `Arabic word, here, in the Qur’ān, can mean XYZ.

      Person 2: show me another verse in the Qur’ān where that word is unambiguously employed in reference to XYZ.

      Person 1: there is no such place in the Qur’ān, but in the `Arabic language, the word can refer to XYZ.

      Person 2: `Arabic is irrelevant. If the Qur’ān does not unambiguously employ the word to mean XYZ elsewhere (in other verses), then it cannot possibly mean such, here (in this verse).

      ***

      Eric wrote
      «I would argue that “god” who incarnate to become human who walked the earth as human and was in flesh and bone is certainly anything like human legends»

      There are a couple points that should be made, here.

      First, we were discussing whether laysa ka-mithlihi shay precluded God from being multipersonal. Switching to the Incarnation strikes me as bordering on changing the subject a bit. Moreover, it begs the question: are we to understand that, in your view, laysa ka-mithlihi shay does not preclude a multipersonal ontology for God, so long as none of the Persons therein incarnate in human form? If not, then what is the point of such a segue?

      Second, while you go on to appeal to the view that laysa ka-mithlihi shay constitutes an “assertion of God’s complete and utter transcendence,” this too seems to be yet another artificial restriction of the Orthodox. The implication seems to be that the construction requires that God not have anything in common whatsoever with anything else, when really it only establishes that God is fundamentally different in some way.

      For some examples of how the construction can be employed, permit me to first note that, back in 2011, Muqtadā al-Sadr was quoted as saying that Syrian President Bashār āl-Āsad is not like those who fell before him:

      الأسد ليس كمثل من سقط قبله
      http://3lnar.com/jonews/world-news/1717.html

      And here is an instance where a person uses the phrase to declare that Muhammad Mursī is different from the president who had been ousted before him (i.e. Husnī Mubārak):

      محمد مرسي ليس كمثل الرئيس المخلوع
      https://www.nmisr.com/vb/showthread.php?t=482399

      A quick search on Google books reveals that the 2003 work Āl-`Abāsiyūn Āl-Āwā’il employs the construction multiple times in a single sentence to distinguish a number of people from others (e.g. Umaya is not like Hāshim, Ābā Sufyān is not like Abi Tālib, et cetera) [I was unable to gain access to the work, but I’ll share this screen shot]:

      Now, to be clear, I agree that God is fundamentally different from anything in creation. But my point is that being that a construction of the sort “X laysa ka-mithl Y” does not require that X and Y have absolutely nothing in common, in no way does the relevant phrase preclude a divine incarnation (i.e. an eternal, divine Person that exists outside of time and space, yet which moves through creation via a human body while not being limited to that body, could remain fundamentally different from a mere created human being who is limited to their body). And the phrase certainly does not require that God be unipersonal (i.e. an eternal, tripersonal being which transcends time and space can be fundamentally different from anything else in existence).

      Like

    • I am afraid you are rambling here Denis, we are talking about “لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ” which literally mean no ANYTHING like Him (God)…. showing me modern arabic use of ليس كمثل “not like” has nothing to do with the Qur’anic words I have been referring.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings Anonymous

      Anonymous wrote:
      «the use of word Huwa doesn’t any longer acknowledge multipersonal entities within the subject thereof, rather it eliminates them.»

      First of all, just to be clear, I was not claiming that the relevant pronoun “acknowledges” that the entity it describes is multipersonal. My point was only that it can refer to a grammatically masculine singular entity, and such an entity, in reality, can be impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal. So the reality here is that if huwa is employed to refer to a thing, that does not preclude that thing from being multipersonal in reality (i.e. contrary to what you seem to be insinuating, it does not “eliminate” such a reality).

      Anonymous wrote:
      «If the word Huwa is used for one personified compound, it cannot be re-used again for any member, lest the member would have redundantly owned *double* person.»

      With all due respect, this rule you have introduced seems to be plainly false. Provided that huwa can be employed to refer to grammatically masculine singular things, it can be employed to refer to a certain kind of compound, and then to an thing within that compound (doing so does not “double” the personhood of anything described).

      For a quick and easy example, see this sports news piece/interview:

      http://www.albayan.ae/five-senses/2006-04-06-1.906846

      The player being interviewed says the following about Roy Keane:

      هو الكابتن والقائد ويحق له ان يقول ما شاء
      “he is the captain and the leader [of the team], and to him is the right to say what he wishes”

      Then, right after that, the player goes on to say:

      مانشستر يونايتد هو النادي المفضل بالنسبة لي وسألعب له حتى نهاية عقدي
      “Manchester United is my favorite team, and I will play for it until the end of my contract”

      Note that both huwa and lahu are employed in reference to the team, as well as in reference to a member of the team. There is nothing improper about such, as these constructions are merely employed to refer to entities which are grammatically masculine singular, without having an effect on what those things are in reality.

      Anonymous wrote:
      «The use of āHad related to āl-qabā’il is intended to refer to one indivisible tribe.»

      Indivisible? Are you honestly saying that use of the phrase āHad āl-qabā’il requires that the tribe so described is indivisible, and presumably unipersonal, in reality?

      Anonymous wrote:
      «do you presume each clan member has “two” persons (as one of his own, and another else of his personifying tribe, if you will)?»

      Of course not, nor do such locutions require me to think such. The use of such terms does not change the reality about things being referred to by them.

      Anonymous wrote:
      «I am sure you understand the ridiculous implication of making two or more persons when personifying one member of one group.»

      I’m not even sure what this means. My point has been a simple one: the various locutions under discussion (āHad, huwa, lahu) do not require that an entity referred to by such be unipersonal. On the contrary, such constructions can be employed to refer to entities which are impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal (and they can likewise be employed to refer to certain things within those entities).

      Anonymous wrote:
      «I think it is worth mentioning that the way of placinng Arabic word āhad in sūrat āl-Ikhlās (twice, at 112:1, 112:4) as well as Hebrew word ‘echād in Shemā’ at the end of passage must mean something theologically important that God is indivisible, not member of compound entity, having only one person.»

      But what is this claim based on? What textual indicators within the relevant sūra require such? The mere assertion is unhelpful, especially since you seem to have tried to introduce rules that do not actually apply to the `Arabic language.

      ***

      Off subject, I’m curious: why the anonymity? [I acknowledge you are under no obligation to answer, but I am curious.]

      Like

    • Salām yā `Abdullah

      Abdullah wrote:
      «That why I asked you about your view of the trinity.»

      And I have tried to respond that I see my particular views on the Trinity irrelevant the topic of the thread, which is whether or not sūrat āl-ikhlāS (or Deuteronomy 6:4) precludes a multipersonal conception of God. I could be an atheist, and make all the same points I have made in this correspondence. Heck, I could be a Muslim and my positions on the grammar could remain the same.

      On the subject of sūrat ān-nisā’ 4:171…

      Abdullah wrote:
      «So that verse was talking about those who believe in Jesus with matter of three, but’s it’s not about christians?»

      What I wrote was that it is not necessarily addressed to orthodox Christians.

      Abdullah wrote:
      «The ordinary person is supposed to understand that it’s talking about other people among āhl āl-kitāb?»

      The phrase āhl āl-kitāb is a rather expansive term. Popularly people associate it with Jews and Christians, but even those terms refer to a wide range of sects, and the text does not establish to what extent it includes or excludes various levels of orthodox or heterodoxy. I would simply take it to mean people who believe the Scriptures. Now, people who affirm various permutations of the Jewish and/or Christian Scriptures represent a wide spectrum, historically, and include people who literally asserted the existence of multiple gods (certain ancient Gnostics went that route, and in modern times I know of a KJV-onlyist sect in Manhattan that asserts there are literally two gods; so too the Mormons, et cetera). So the verse could be addressing a specific group of Scripture readers who asserted that there were literally three gods.

      Abdullah wrote:
      «The matter of three is about the trinity.»

      That’s what you claim, and I acknowledge that such is a popular view, but the text does not require such a conclusion.

      Abdullah wrote:
      «What you referred in the Study Quran is one thing among many that I don’t agree with that book.»

      Fine, but I suspect you already know that I do not equate “Abdullah disagrees about X” with “X is therefore necessarily incorrect.”

      Abdullah wrote:
      «The point is that christians try to say that Ahad involves many persons!»

      I have not claimed that āHad necessarily entails multiple persons. My point has been a simpler, and more uncontroversial one: the word does not preclude an entity from being multipersonal (but, so too, an entity referred to by such could be unipersonal or impersonal).

      Like

    • Salām yā `Omar

      Omar wrote:
      «Applying Quranic exegesis **He** Allah is one person only!»

      As has already been discussed in this thread, the relevant terms are masculine singular, but such does not require an entity described by such to be unipersonal. Masculine singular constructions can refer to impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal entities.

      Omar wrote:
      «you can find examples where ‘He’ or ‘Him’ in reference to Allah and his unique oneness ‘ahad’ contextually denotes multiple persons that comprise one being!?»

      As I have said, I believe the Qur’ān leaves the question open. That is to say, in my limited reading of the text, it does not unambigously establish whether God is unipersonal or multipersonal. Nonetheless, since you asked, I would note all the plural constructions in the text. My personal favorite is sūrat āl-wāqi`a 56:59 employing the construction naHnu al-Khāliqūna, literally “we are the Creators”. Now, I am well aware that Muslims take it for granted that such is merely a plural of majesty, but I wonder if the text itself ever clearly establishes such (and you might guess that I’m tempted to smirk at the rule that “all plural constructions are mere metaphors, while all singular constructions are literal”).

      Like

    • «Denis: My point was only that it can refer to a grammatically masculine singular entity, and such an entity, in reality, can be impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal. So the reality here is that if huwa is employed to refer to a thing, that does not preclude that thing from being multipersonal in reality (i.e. contrary to what you seem to be insinuating, it does not “eliminate” such a reality).»

      As in English, one can’t use “it are” or “he are”, correct? One can’t say “a things”.
      You concur that Huwa is employed to refer to one singular entity only, not to many things. Let’s pause on it awhile. The use of Huwa really eliminates any possibility of referring to plural entities.
      Nevertheless you keep confusing the grammar with the personalities of subject. I will comment this at the end of my reply.

      «Denis: With all due respect, this rule you have introduced seems to be plainly false. Provided that huwa can be employed to refer to grammatically masculine singular things, it can be employed to refer to a certain kind of compound, and then to an thing within that compound (doing so does not “double” the personhood of anything described).»

      Indeed, a thing, not a things.

      «Denis: “he is the captain and the leader [of the team], and to him is the right to say what he wishes”»

      Yes, a captain, not a captains.

      «Denis: “Manchester United is my favorite team, and I will play for it until the end of my contract”»

      That’s a team, not a teams.

      «Denis: Note that both huwa and lahu are employed in reference to the team, as well as in reference to a member of the team. There is nothing improper about such, as these constructions are merely employed to refer to entities which are grammatically masculine singular, without having an effect on what those things are in reality.»

      Once more, a team, not a teams.

      « Denis: Indivisible? Are you honestly saying that use of the phrase āHad āl-qabā’il requires that the tribe so described is indivisible, and presumably unipersonal, in reality? »

      Herein a tribe, not a tribes.

      «Denis: Of course not, nor do such locutions require me to think such. The use of such terms does not change the reality about things being referred to by them.»

      Correct syntax: a God, not a Gods.

      «« Denis: My point has been a simple one: the various locutions under discussion (āHad, huwa, lahu) do not require that an entity referred to by such be unipersonal. On the contrary, such constructions can be employed to refer to entities which are impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal (and they can likewise be employed to refer to certain things within those entities).»

      You keep confusing the grammar with the personalities of subject. Now let us argue about the number. Of course you can argue that 3 is not always 3 as you can divide it. You can get 3 from 2 + 1, or 0.5 + 2.5, et cetera. Possibility to divide the value of 3 is infinite. Does it mean that there’s no 3?
      Now you apply the same principle of dividing operation for every number, even for 1, or for whatever number you like, but what can you get? You have an absurd definition of number (irrational). Can you comprehend my point now? If you apply division operation on every number, there’s no any fixed number you may get.

      Like

    • Greetings Anonymous

      I would quickly sum up my position thusly: when a term such as āHad, huwa, or lahu, is employed in reference to X, it is referring to a single X, but that does not preclude that X from comprising multiple Ys.

      So, if such terms are employed in reference to a team or tribe, we are referring to a single team or tribe, but that does not preclude that team or tribe from comprising multiple persons.

      Likewise, if such terms are employed in reference to a human person, we are referring to a single human person, but that does not preclude that human person from possessing a body which includes many bones and muscles.

      And it has been my position that when such terms are applied to God, we are referring to a single God, but it does not automatically preclude the possibility of that one God from comprising multiple persons.

      It was simple grammatical point, in response to those (yourself included) who wrongly claimed that the terms necessarily imply the entity so described is unipersonal (or cannot be multipersonal).

      Like

    • «Denis: My point has been a simple one: the various locutions under discussion (āHad, huwa, lahu) do not require that an entity referred to by such be unipersonal. On the contrary, such constructions can be employed to refer to entities which are impersonal, unipersonal or multipersonal (and they can likewise be employed to refer to certain things within those entities).»

      It has to. The word Huwa can only be used for a singular entity. But if you think every thing (singularity, entity, thing, even number) can be divided into smaller partials by whatever criterion you may use, you will never establish a fixed amount of entity. A soccer team can have 22 shoes. You can’t have the number 1 either.
      The Trinitarians can’t have a fixed 3 for their Trinity either if they count seven spirits with seven eyes.

      Like

    • «It has to.»

      Just to be clear, it has to what? Are you saying it has to refer to an entity which is not multipersonal? If so, that has already been shown to be false.

      «The word Huwa can only be used for a singular entity.»

      Yes, but it does not preclude that one entity from comprising multiple persons.

      «A soccer team can have 22 shoes. You can’t have the number 1 either.»

      What does this even mean? A single soccer team cannot be one team if that team possesses multiple shoes?

      [By the way, permit me to share that I continue to wonder why you choose to be anonymous.]

      Like

    • «And it has been my position that when such terms are applied to God, we are referring to a single God, but it does not automatically preclude the possibility of that one God from comprising multiple persons.»

      Tell me, why don’t the cherry-picking Trinitarians count seven divine spirits from one person of the Holy Spirit? Are not seven spirits derived from one same co-equal essence of the Father?

      Cherry picking is a trick of suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence. It is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

      Like

    • «Denis : Just to be clear, it has to what? Are you saying it has to refer to an entity which is not multipersonal? If so, that has already been shown to be false.»

      The words Huwa and āhad do not deal with whatever components or partials that may or may not construct one entity. Rather, the choice of using Huwa and āhad in a passage is meant to eliminate the impression of particularities.

      Like

    • «why don’t the cherry-picking Trinitarians count seven divine spirits from one person of the Holy Spirit?»

      I am not sure what you’re referring to, though it seems off topic from what we are discussing. That is to say, it seems you want to switch the topic from the grammatical and textual indicators of the Qur’ānic text to a broader discussion on the nuances of the Trinity vis a vis various Biblical texts (e.g. Revelation). I assume you do this because I happen to be a Trinitarian, and if that assumption is correct, permit me to note, as I have noted before, that an atheist could have made the same points I made.

      Whatever the case, if you want to propose a conception of God that has seven spirits, or seven persons, or nine persons, or a conception of the Holy Spirit which posits that the Holy Spirit is actually a compound of seven spirits, what difference would it make to the grammatical points under discussion, here? I mean no disrespect, but this does strike me as an attempt to change the subject.

      As for the apparent charge of suppressing evidence, which evidence do you feel I have suppressed? What data do you feel I have ignored, which contradicts the grammatical points I have made?

      Like

    • «Denis: That is to say, it seems you want to switch the topic from the grammatical and textual indicators of the Qur’ānic text to a broader discussion on the nuances of the Trinity vis a vis various Biblical texts (e.g. Revelation).»

      My purpose of using the example of *seven* spirits from *three* persons is just to compare how absurd it is if you keep in mind that everything is a compound entities to be divided further. Here is my question : what if *one* person of Spirit is counted as compound entities made of *seven* sub-persons as well?
      Concerning the Arabic language, it is certain that Huwa and āhad are employed to refer to a singular entity specifically, without making consideration whether it is made of some smaller components, even those words are chosen to eliminate the unnecessary impression of particularities.

      Like

  13. If we want to say one tribe, we don’t say that each person in the tribe is the tribe itself.
    Ahad has specific meaning in Arabic & even in Hebrew. Yet christians try to give the language different meanings

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Denis, don’t play with Arabic language as you did with the Hebrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I wrote a lot of comments here!

    Like

  16. Why is Denis implying that the Qur’an is compatible with the Trinity? I find this incredibly astonishing? Eric could you explain please?

    Like

    • From my limited exploration of the text, I have come away with the sincere impression that it leaves open the question of whether the one God is unipersonal or multipersonal. And I’m willing to discuss that with others. That is all.

      Surely this blog is an appropriate place for different people to explore and discuss their limited understandings of the Qur’anic text, right?

      Like

    • Sir, Denis, I think you should write an article articulating this point of yours. Maybe you could write an article in direct response to this one, to see where it goes. This is a very interesting topic and many people are listening.

      Like

    • I will certainly consider it (interestingly a Christian friend encouraged me to do the same, last night). Perhaps I need to gather my thoughts more (I’m no expert; I’m just sharing my sincere impression from my limited reading of the text). Either way, if one is interested in my thoughts on the question, I touched on related points here (also see the comments section):

      If I do write a new article or blog entry on the subject, it will likely incorporate some of that material there.

      Like

    • Salam,

      I certainly believe this is not true and in fact the majorities of modern /western Quranic scholars, (among whom is the prominent Angelika Neuwirth whom I cited) understand that surah Al ikhlas in particularly and Al Qur’an in general deliberately negate the trinity, sort of negative theology of the trinitarian creed.

      Denis method is like: if the Qur’an or the Torah dont say anything which excludes the term “One” (in the Hebrew word אֶחָד echad and arabic احد Ahad) as being “many things as one” so it maybe the case that the word God is one, in the Qur’an and Torah, as “One in many persons”

      I find this argument weak if not absurd/falacious (argumentum ex silentio). Yes the Quran dont say that God as having personhood nor it is saying that God has other categories or modes or whatever association (shirk) to God one can imagine. Yet not surprisingly Denis insist to define God as having multiple personhood … (a trinitarian definition of god personhood i suspect) ..and the reason is because the Qur’an dont say anything that God do not have personhood.

      I dont find Denis reasoning convincing. Why limit the category to his nicene trinitarian deifinition? The modalistic trinity model and others like mormonism model can also work well and can be made harmonious with the Qur’an. Seems like almost anything can be made harmonious with the Qur’an 😉

      Like

    • Salām Eric

      Eric wrote:
      «the majorities of modern /western Quranic scholars, (among whom is the prominent Angelika Neuwirth whom I cited) understand that surah Al ikhlas in particularly and Al Qur’an in general deliberately negate the trinity»

      But, of course, the meaning of the text is not established by a democratic vote. We can still discuss what the textual indicators are, and I have seen nothing in the relevant sūra precluding a multipersonal conception of God.

      Eric wrote:
      «Denis method is like: if the Qur’an or the Torah dont say anything which excludes the term “One” (in the Hebrew word אֶחָד echad and arabic احد Ahad) as being “many things as one” so it maybe the case that the word God is one, in the Qur’an and Torah, as “One in many persons” I find this argument weak if not absurd/falacious (argumentum ex silentio).»

      It is mostly a grammatical point, and points of grammar are neither absurd nor fallacious. Noting that employing such terms do not require the entity under discussion to be multipersonal is not a mere ex silentio.

      Eric wrote:
      «Denis insist to define God as having multiple personhood»

      I have not insisted on such in this correspondence. It is true that I am a Trinitarian, but I have not pushed a specifically Trinitarian view. As I have noted previously, I could be an atheist and my argument would remain the same. It is unfortunate that a number of people in this correspondence have not-so-subtly attempted to move the focus from my arguments to more specifically me, or what I believe separate from those arguments.

      Eric wrote:
      «Why limit the category to his nicene trinitarian deifinition? The modalistic trinity model and others like mormonism model can also work well and can be made harmonious with the Qur’an.»

      I have not tried to limit the possibilities to a Trinitarian conception of God. I have only tried to discuss the implications of the text, without advocating for a specifically Trinitarian view. I would likewise say the Qur’ānic text does not rule out a binitarian conception of God, or a multipersonal conception which entails more than three persons. Nor does it preclude a unipersonal conception. The insinuation that I have tried to limit this to a Trinitarian conception strikes me as another example of participants in this correspondence focusing on me instead of my actual stated arguments.

      Like

    • With the name of Allah,

      Hi Denis,
      «the majorities of modern /western Quranic scholars, (among whom is the prominent Angelika Neuwirth whom I cited) understand that surah Al ikhlas in particularly and Al Qur’an in general deliberately negate the trinity»

      //But, of course, the meaning of the text is not established by a democratic vote. We can still discuss what the textual indicators are, and I have seen nothing in the relevant sūra precluding a multipersonal conception of God.//

      I am not sure what you mean by multi persons god, I am assuming this kind of god who has manifest itself into three personhood who each stands by itself..

      Sura Al ikhlas precludes anything on the conception of God being multi-persons, including the grammatical point.

      In verse 1 قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ , Grammatically  the word lafdhul jalaalah, Allah,  in هُوَ اللَّهُ marked by rafa’ pointer  dhammah must be the second mubtada‘ or badal of dhamir هُوَ,  and the ism mufrad (singular noun)  أَحَدٌ is the khabar of mubtada’ اللَّهُ .  So in this  parsing the sentence undoubtedly mean “He is Allah,the only One”.

      And in v2, اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ, also the same mubtada’ and khabar construction also in marfu’ characterized by rafa’ dhammah, the former is  lafdhul jalaalah the latter is another isim mufrad.

      in v3 لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ  ,  the لَمْ  in the sentences are the negation harf an-nafi, in majzum  fiil mudhari’ and the doer or the Fail  must be in dhamir mustatir  with its takdir هو, thus it could only mean اللَّهُ

      in v4 , وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ  the وَ waw here  refer to athaf  the previous لَمْ and  the يَكُنْ is in fi’il mudhari’ naqish, to cause rafa’ for isim and to cause nashab in khabar mubtada’ but it is mazjum because of لَمْ, the  لَهُ  here is jar wa majrur, mutta’alliq with  khabar يَكُنْ which is كُفُواً. here  كُفُواً  is khabar of  يَكُنْ which is  manshub, marked by  fathah, and is also isim mufrad.

      The second أَحَدٌ is isim يَكُنْ which is marfu’,marked by case ending dhammah, this one also isim mufrad.

      So we can say:

      The word: «قل …»syntactically is independent because it is the beginning of the sentence .

      kalimah: «هو اللّه أحد …» fi mahalli nashbin  from what being “said”.

      kalimah: «اللّه أحد …» fi mahalli raf’in  is the khabar of mubtada هُوَ

      kalimah: «اللّه الصمد …» fi mahalli raf’in and  the second  khabar kedua of mubtada هُوَ

      kalimah: «لم يلد …» fi mahalli raf’in , and the third khabar of  mubtada هُوَ

      kalimah: «لم يولد …» fi mahalli raf’in and follows kalimah لم يلد

      kalimah: «لم يكن له كفوا أحد»fi mahalli raf’in and follows kalimah لم يلد

       

      So from from purely the classical arabic grammatical point of view, the word Ahad mean single, unique and nothing equal to Him, only One Will and One consciousness, Whose being awlays indivinsible, unchanged to be sublime, everlasting (as-samad), … the Ahad which is nothing sort of one equal in rank and position (Lam yakulaHu), excluding any notion of multi persons “god”. Also After the revelation of the Qur’an the use of Ahad has been reserved only for Allah only, and for no one else. This particular rule by itself shows it can only mean being an absolute unity as a fundamental attribute of Allah; no one else in the world perceivable by creations is qualified with this quality: Allah is One without equal.

       

       

       

      «Denis method is like: if the Qur’an or the Torah dont say anything which excludes the term “One” (in the Hebrew word אֶחָד echad and arabic احد Ahad) as being “many things as one” so it maybe the case that the word God is one, in the Qur’an and Torah, as “One in many persons” I find this argument weak if not absurd/falacious (argumentum ex silentio).»

      //It is mostly a grammatical point, and points of grammar are neither absurd nor fallacious. Noting that employing such terms do not require the entity under discussion to be multipersonal is not a mere ex silentio.//

      I have given classical arabic grammatical rule of sura al ikhlas,  it excludes any notion of multi persons “god”.
      «Denis insist to define God as having multiple personhood»

      //I have not insisted on such in this correspondence. It is true that I am a Trinitarian, but I have not pushed a specifically Trinitarian view. As I have noted previously, I could be an atheist and my argument would remain the same.//

      Neither that I cited you for a trinitarian view as per chalcedonian definition . Your method is flawed because the word function like any other language, its underlying meaning is one and only… not  one group consisting of multiple and smaller “ones”. Yes we can then extend the semantic use for the word “one” but that must be supported by extra information from other text  hence contextually supported.

      «Why limit the category to his nicene trinitarian deifinition? The modalistic trinity model and others like mormonism model can also work well and can be made harmonious with the Qur’an.»

      //I have not tried to limit the possibilities to a Trinitarian conception of God. I have only tried to discuss the implications of the text, without advocating for a specifically Trinitarian view. I would likewise say the Qur’ānic text does not rule out a binitarian conception of God, or a multipersonal conception which entails more than three persons. Nor does it preclude a unipersonal conception//

       

      Again the problem with that line of reasoning anything can be made harmonious with the Qur’anic concept of “He is Allah,the only One”

      I can safely argue with your reasoning that:

      “He is Allah, the only One god with his younger god” -binitarianism

      “He is Allah, the only One god in different forms. ” -hinduism

      “He is Allah, the only One god which consists of council of three distinct god persons  manifested in many other distinct gods ” -mormonism

       

       

      Liked by 1 person

  17. DG

    “That is certainly the position of the orthodox Muslims, here. But it begs the same question: why should others agree with such a claim? Are there textual indicators in the Qur’ān which necessitate such a view?”

    There are “textual indicators” in the Qur’ān and in the Bible which necessitate such a view.

    God in the Bible and in the Qur’an is one Self, one “Who”, not one “What” as in trinitarianism.

    God in the Bible who is the God of Jesus is The Father of Israel = the Father of Jesus alone who says explicitly “there is no God besides me”.

    Like

    • Could you share some of the textual indicators you have in mind, which necessitate that when God is referred to by A7D, such necessitates God is unipersonal?

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    • Is your God one “Who” or one “What”? Jesus God is one Lord. How many Lords is your God?

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    • While I’m happy to discuss the nuances of my belief, I notice that such discussions can move further and further away from the topic. Whether or not there are textual indicators, necessitating that when God is referred to as āHad/eHad (אחד احد) it means unipersonal, does not hinge on what I, personally, believe (e.g. an atheist could ask the same questions about the text).

      So, rather than get into a segue about what I, personally, believe, I would like to discuss what textual indicators necessitate that the relevant Hebrew or Arabic term(s) preclude a multipersonal ontology for an entity so described.

      Like

    • Denis do you believe that the Trinitarian Doctrine is compatible with Surah Ikhlas?How about the Entire Qur’an?

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    • Indeed, I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity). As far as specifically Christian doctrine is concerned, the only part of the Qur’ān’s 112th sūra which should cause a Christian to pause is lam yalid wa-lam yūlad (but I think even there, reconciliation is possible); the rest of the sūra I think a Christian can read and agree with fully.

      As far as the Qur’ān as a whole is concerned, I certainly recognize that there are passages which many will understand as Unitarian and anti-Trinitarian, but from my limited understanding, such views are not the only possibility. I won’t positively assert that the Qur’ān was composed by a Trinitarian, but, as I wrote previously, my own impression is that, while unambiguously affirming monotheism, it leaves open the question of unipersonal vs multipersonal conceptions of God. In other words, while I recognize the Qur’ān can be read within a Unitarian perspective, I also believe it can be read harmoniously with a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity).

      But again, I’m no expert. The above are merely the impressions of a student who is still studying.

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    • “Indeed, I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity).”

      The One God of The Bible and the Qur’an is not one divine nature, one divine “What”.
      As in the trinitarian conception of God.

      Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is is one divine Self, one divine “Who”.

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    • DG: In other words, while I recognize the Qur’ān can be read within a Unitarian perspective, I also believe it can be read harmoniously with a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity).

      Give us one example where you believe the Quran can be read harmoniously with a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity)? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nota Bene: This post will be responding to both Burhanuddin and Omar (greetings to both gentlemen).

      [*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*]

      I (Denis) wrote:
      «Indeed, I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity).»

      Burhanuddin responded:
      «The One God of The Bible and the Qur’an is not one divine nature, one divine “What”.
      As in the trinitarian conception of God. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is is one divine Self, one divine “Who”.»

      Notice what you were responding to: my statement that I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God. Then notice how your reply doesn’t make any recourse to the text of sūrat āl-ikhlāS; rather it introduces assertions not actually found in therein. I am aware of what you believe. But that tells us little about the implications or requirements of the text of sūrat āl-ikhlāS.

      [*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*]

      Omar wrote:
      «Give us one example where you believe the Quran can be read harmoniously with a multipersonal conception of God»

      I have already: sūrat āl-ikhlāS. Now, note that to say that a text can be read harmoniously with a belief is not the same as saying the text explicitly endorses that belief. Mind you, I also think the Qur’ān can be read harmoniously with a unipersonal conception of God.

      Permit me to share an analogy or thought experiment to illustrate what I mean. Suppose there was a dispute between Jews and Christians, regarding the height of Jesus. Suppose in this hypothetical dispute, the Jews say Jesus was under 5 feet (1.5 meters), while the Christians say Jesus was taller than 5 feet (1.5 meters). Now, what does the Qur’ān say about this issue? I would say it leaves the question open, and thus it could be read harmoniously with either view.

      Like

    • “my statement that I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God. Then notice how your reply doesn’t make any recourse to the text of sūrat āl-ikhlāS;”

      Your statement and I refer to the specific multipersonal conception of God OF THE TRINITY. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is is one divine Self, one divine “Who”, in the Bible, in Qur’an including sūrat āl-ikhlāS.

      Like

    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      «Your statement and I refer to the specific multipersonal conception of God OF THE TRINITY.»

      More specifically, a multipersonal conception of God like the Trinity. But I have also noted in this thread that such does not have to be limited to the Trinity (i.e. by the same token, sūrat āl-ikhlāS does not strike me as ruling out a binitarian conception of God, or a conception of God which posits more than three persons).

      «Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is is one divine Self, one divine “Who”, in the Bible, in Qur’an including sūrat āl-ikhlāS.»

      As I wrote to you previously, I am well aware what you believe. The question being explored in the text you quoted and responded to was whether sūrat āl-ikhlāS precludes a multipersonal conception of God. Simply repeating that “Allah is one divine self, one divine Who” does not answer that question. I would propose that it be better that we examine the text of sūrat āl-ikhlāS itself.

      Like

    • Greetings Denis. There is no other multipersonal conception of God like the Trinity except the Trinity, is there?

      Anyway, sūrat āl-ikhlāS as all of al Qur’an precludes the specific multinatural conception of the post-incarnated God.

      The biblical term “echad” for the eternally unchanging God also precludes the multilnatural conception of the post-incarnated God of the Trinity.

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      «There is no other multipersonal conception of God like the Trinity except the Trinity, is there?»

      I said “like the Trinity” as an example of a multipersonal conception of God. I did not mean the Trinity is the only possible multipersonal conception of God (on the contrary, I noted other types of views).

      «sūrat āl-ikhlāS as all of al Qur’an precludes the specific multinatural conception of the post-incarnated God.»

      First, just to be clear, is it your position that it doesn’t preclude a multipersonal conception of God that does not involve an incarnation? If not, why switch from over to a reference to the incarnation?

      Second, could you point to the textual indicators which preclude such?

      «The biblical term “echad” for the eternally unchanging God also precludes the multilnatural conception of the post-incarnated God of the Trinity.»

      I see no reason to consider this claim true (but again, we seem to be switching from a multipersonal conception of God to a divine incarnation, which, although both affirmed by Christianity, are not the same thing).

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    • “I see no reason to consider this claim true (but again, we seem to be switching from a multipersonal conception of God to a divine incarnation, which, although both affirmed by Christianity, are not the same thing).”

      For reasons see here
      https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/09/27/the-nature-of-god-in-christianity/

      Of course “multipersonal conception of God and divine incarnation” are the same thing for Trinitarianism.
      Your God is an “incarnated” God, no?

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    • Denis as mentioned before when applying consistent Quranic exegesis **He** Allah is one person only!..unless you can find examples where ‘He’ or ‘Him’ in reference to Allah and His unique oneness ‘ahad’ contextually denotes multiple persons that comprise one being!?…otherwise your simply and erroneously applying your feeble
      Eisegesis to the Quranic text that is not contextually supported

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Still I’m facing the same problem, brother Eric!

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  19. I face a problem with comments? What’s wrong?

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  20. “Indeed, I see no contradiction between sūrat āl-ikhlāS and a multipersonal conception of God (like that of the Trinity). As far as specifically Christian doctrine is concerned, the only part of the Qur’ān’s 112th sūra which should cause a Christian to pause is lam yalid wa-lam yūlad (but I think even there, reconciliation is possible); the rest of the sūra I think a Christian can read and agree with fully.”

    This is such a bad bad argument!

    Remember Denis is claiming that the phrase God is one is equivocal with regards to multiple personhoods in the entity called “God”

    In other words when faced with this phrase ( in the context of the whole Quran) we cannot understand whether God is one person ! We have to sit on the fence , even if this God has free will, is self aware, is interpersonal and is all knowing ! If God is the set of persons then this is literally not true. Sets don’t talk about themselves like this. We don’t have Manchester United saying I did this and I have life, knowledge etc…

    With this linguistic gymnastics, one wonders if Denis can prove biblically there are only three persons in the trinity. What linguistic phrase rules that out? Yes this is a red herring so let’s move on

    Firstly and this is very important, historically we have an anachronism. We do not have a single historical source that has any Muslim (even heretical) group even contemplating this reading. Either we have a radical historical bottle neck or we have a more reasonable case that this is what all the Muslims understood the relevant passages to mean . Surely the onus is on you Denis to make this radical historical claim. After all you are claiming that the author and I assume, at least some, sincere followers allowed the possibility of multiple persons in the God head in a hermeneutic sense . I could have a field day with any religious context if we are going to play this game

    Secondly, some of the Arabic translations are bizarre ! هو can mean “it” and it can mean “he” in Arabic

    So this يونايتد هو آخر فريق سألعب له في أوروبا

    Manchester United is(it is) last team that I shall…

    Not Manchester United “he” is the last team!

    Look I can be just as silly

    Random google search !

    هو كتاب مستقل عن كتاب ابن عسكر

    There you go “هو” is used with a book! Are we to be agnostic, in principle, and think a book could be a person?(assume a text with only this phrase in it and without clarification)

    On the other hand if I have a text where a “هو” has free will, is all knowing, is self aware, interpersonal then, in principle, this refers to a “he” ! (Please do not use the royal “we” in the Quran). This “هو ” is also a person . What is a person then ? We also, in principle, dealing with one person if we are reading a text with these links between the subject and predicate. That would be the apparent reading and the onus is on you to prove otherwise

    Now let’s take your agnostic stance and show how it’s self refuting!

    I get this impression that you have Craig like understanding of the trinity which, for all intents and purposes, is partialism(don’t really care about these labels honestly) but that is not my real point. How can you differentiate using your linguistic gymnastics between a single Godhead that refers to a team of distinct persons and a Godhead that has one nature that unites the three persons in the Cerberus sense ?

    The Shema will not help (because one can refer to teams and sets). Pronouns (i.e. he God did this and that) will not help because again they can supposedly refer to sets, corporations and teams. Attributes indicating personhood will not help because these attributes can be applied indirectly to the art that contains teams and corporations.

    In other words we have an agnostic view on the biblical reading. We are not sure if it is preaching polytheism!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Greetings Unitarian

      Unitarian wrote:
      «God has free will, is self aware, is interpersonal and is all knowing ! If God is the set of persons then this is literally not true. Sets don’t talk about themselves like this.»

      First of all, what would preclude a multipersonal being from possessing a will, being self-aware, being interpersonal, possessing omniscience? As for self-reference in the Qur’ān, the text does use a large number of plural constructions in reference to God (as I noted elsewhere, my personal favorite is sūrat āl-wāqi`a 56:59 employing the construction naHnu al-Khāliqūna, literally “we are the Creators”). Now, I realize that orthodox Muslims treat such constructions as merely metaphorical, employing something akin to a plural of majesty (and yes I saw your request that we not go here), but I am unsure the text itself necessitates such a position (and I find curious a tacit rule that “all plural constructions are metaphors while all singular constructions are literal”).

      Unitarian wrote:
      «We don’t have Manchester United saying I did this and I have life, knowledge etc…»

      Agreed, we don’t see Manchester United doing that. But if a multipersonal God did exist (especially one that exists outside of time and space***), what would preclude such a unique being from putting forth self-referential statements in the first person? While it might be outside the scope of this correspondence, there could be an interesting related discussion on how a being outside of time and space makes statements (as surely you don’t believe God has vocal cords and a mouth via which sounds are formed, which might beg the question of whether the things God “says” [e.g. “kun“] are even literally audibe when they are “said”).

      ***By the way, I wish to ask, would you be willing to describe God as being akin to a “dimensionless infinite”?

      Unitarian wrote:
      «Firstly and this is very important, historically we have an anachronism. We do not have a single historical source that has any Muslim (even heretical) group even contemplating this reading.»

      I disagree (at least if we are referring to professed believers in the Qur’ān, rather than the harder to define “Muslims,” though I appreciate your reference to “heretical groups”). Meir Bar-Asher and Aryeh Kofsky’s The Nusayri-ʿAlawi Religion (Brill, 2002) discusses a perhaps twelfth century `Alawῑ work that attempts to take a Trinitarian approach to the Qur’ān. Now, while `Alawῑ beliefs may have taken various permutations over the course of history, it is widely believed that their deification of `Alῑ (and other figures) goes back to Abū Shu`ayb MuHamad ibn NuSayr, who lived at the same time as Imām Bukhārī (moreover, there are certain āHādīth that record `Alῑ burning people for declaring him God [I’m not saying the story is necessarily historical, but it does seem to reflect an understanding that such beliefs may go back to the earliest centuries of Islām]). Now, of course, the deification of `Alῑ need not necessarily reflect a multipersonal conception of God (i.e. one could hypothetically have a belief in `Alῑ’s divinity which is modalistic and unipersonal), but the existence of an overtly multipersonal reading of the Qur’ān in the 12th/13th century, among people whose origins may go back to the 9th century or even farther back, tells me that the charge of anachronism may be unfair. (Unfortunately, persecution has made the `Alawῑs and others like them rather secretive, so we don’t have a lot of their writings from the past.)

      Unitarian wrote:
      «Secondly, some of the Arabic translations are bizarre ! هو can mean “it” and it can mean “he” in Arabic
      So this يونايتد هو آخر فريق سألعب له في أوروبا
      Manchester United is(it is) last team that I shall…
      Not Manchester United “he” is the last team!
      Look I can be just as silly
      Random google search !
      هو كتاب مستقل عن كتاب ابن عسكر
      There you go “هو” is used with a book! Are we to be agnostic, in principle, and think a book could be a person?»

      First of all, note that there was a context to my appeal to those statements: other persons in the thread were asserting that the singular pronoun/copula huwa necessarily entails that what it refers to is unipersonal. I knew that was false, so I showed `Arabic constructions to the contrary. I was not claiming the relevant word necessarily entails personhood. I am well aware that, in multiple Semitic languages, such singular constructions can be employed to refer to entities which are impersonal, unipersonal, or multipersonal. That non-controversial fact logically entails my position, which itself should not be controversial: use of the relevant term does not, in itself, require that what it is referring to is unipersonal. Can you agree with me on at least that?

      Regarding the question of agnosticism about the personhood of a book, of course we already agree that books are impersonal. But if there was some other thing we did not agree upon, mere recourse to a pronoune/copula would not necessarily settle the disagreement.

      Unitarian wrote:
      «How can you differentiate using your linguistic gymnastics between a single Godhead that refers to a team of distinct persons and a Godhead that has one nature that unites the three persons in the Cerberus sense ?»

      I really don’t understand the question, nor do I quite grasp its point. Suppose I employed the same pronouns in either case (even alternating between singular and plural constructions in either case). Would that necessarily be a problem for the points I have made in this correspondence?

      Unitarian wrote:
      «In other words we have an agnostic view on the biblical reading. We are not sure if it is preaching polytheism!»

      Well, the Bible is pretty clear at times that there is one God. If you wish to say we are agnostic as to whether that one God is unipersonal or multipersonal, I would shrug my shoulders (as, although I see the text text as leaning towards a multipersonal conception of God, I am fine at stopping at such a point of agnosticism in this corresponence; doing so would not undermine my arguments, here, as far as I can see).

      Unitarian wrote:
      «In a nutshell if God is a collective noun (using team analogies and so on ) then we have polytheism.»

      Not necessarily. Polytheism would be multiple gods. One God comprising multiple Persons who are not individual gods would be monotheism. But, to clarify, my appeal to the team was only to rebut the claim that the singular pronoun/copula necessarily refers to a unipersonal entity.

      Unitarian wrote:
      «I hate the Cerberus analogy of Craig!»

      I didn’t bring it up in this thread. But if you’d like, we can discuss it some time (though, preferably not in this correspondence, as I have been trying to keep the focus on the text).

      ***

      Of subject, sir, your writing style and erudition strike me as familiar. Forgive me if this is too personal a question, but did we ever correspond on Usenet (e.g. soc.religion.islam) in a previous decade?

      Like

  21. “Attributes indicating personhood will not help because these attributes can be applied indirectly to the art that contains teams and corporations.”

    Should be attributes are applied indirectly to the group of persons in teams and corporations by being applied directly to a single team etc

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  22. Out of curiosity can we even in the English language talk about collective nouns using the pronoun “I” (أنا)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I don’t think we can even do that in Arabic.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. In a nutshell if God is a collective noun (using team analogies and so on ) then we have polytheism. If God is not a collective noun but some bizarre hybrid then your very same equivocations provide no way to differentiate

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sorry for another post. I hate the Cerberus analogy of Craig! Forgive the emotional outburst 🙂

    Like

  26. “Greetings Unitarian”

    Greetings Denis! Appreciate the civil and interesting conversation!

    Denis Giron says

    “First of all, what would preclude a multipersonal being from possessing a will, being self-aware, being interpersonal, possessing omniscience? As for self-reference in the Qur’ān, the text does use a large number of plural constructions in reference to God (as I noted elsewhere, my personal favorite is sūrat āl-wāqi`a 56:59 employing the construction naHnu al-Khāliqūna, literally “we are the Creators”). Now, I realize that orthodox Muslims treat such constructions as merely metaphorical, employing something akin to a plural of majesty (and yes I saw your request that we not go here), but I am unsure the text itself necessitates such a position (and I find curious a tacit rule that “all plural constructions are metaphors while all singular constructions are literal”).”

    Nothing stops multipersonal beings (lets allow the coherence of this concept for the moment) having wills, knowledge etc. Our concern is with the expression of this concept in a singular way.

    Here is the issue Denis. We have plenty of evidence of the use of the plural of majesty across different Semitic languages. We have plenty of evidence of this use in very early sources. On the other hand we have no evidence that the singular pronouns انا واني are used in a metaphorical sense with “collective nouns” or “multipersonal entities” (what is such an entity in Judaism and early Islam?). More so, we have no idea of this in the collective memory of the early Muslims.

    I am not for a metaphorical card that is pulled out in an anachronistic and ad hoc manner. In other words the onus is on you Denis to provide such an understanding

    Let me try to put it another way. How are we to differentiate between the literal use of a singular pronoun, with the metaphorical use of the plural construct and a metaphorical use of the singular pronoun and the literal use of the plural form? What meta level are you resorting to Denis for such hermeneutics? I would be fascinated to know.

    I claim historical literary attestation in line with the memory of the earliest community. You claim? Well we shall see below..

    Denis Giron wrote

    “Agreed, we don’t see Manchester United doing that. But if a multipersonal God did exist (especially one that exists outside of time and space***), what would preclude such a unique being from putting forth self-referential statements in the first person? While it might be outside the scope of this correspondence, there could be an interesting related discussion on how a being outside of time and space makes statements (as surely you don’t believe God has vocal cords and a mouth via which sounds are formed, which might beg the question of whether the things God “says” [e.g. “kun“] are even literally audibe when they are “said”).”

    Then why use the analogy? It fails on the crucial concern. You seem to be placing the target domain in a “special circumstance” when the analogy fails. He is a unique being after all. Hold on, unique being and analogical reasoning? Reminds me of the unique definition of “humanity” in some models of the incarnation.

    Simply put, the analogy fails and we thus fall back on to the concept of coherence.

    “I disagree (at least if we are referring to professed believers in the Qur’ān, rather than the harder to define “Muslims,” though I appreciate your reference to “heretical groups”). Meir Bar-Asher and Aryeh Kofsky’s The Nusayri-ʿAlawi Religion (Brill, 2002) discusses a perhaps twelfth century `Alawῑ work that attempts to take a Trinitarian approach to the Qur’ān. Now, while `Alawῑ beliefs may have taken various permutations over the course of history, it is widely believed that their deification of `Alῑ (and other figures) goes back to Abū Shu`ayb MuHamad ibn NuSayr, who lived at the same time as Imām Bukhārī (moreover, there are certain āHādīth that record `Alῑ burning people for declaring him God [I’m not saying the story is necessarily historical, but it does seem to reflect an understanding that such beliefs may go back to the earliest centuries of Islām]). Now, of course, the deification of `Alῑ need not necessarily reflect a multipersonal conception of God (i.e. one could hypothetically have a belief in `Alῑ’s divinity which is modalistic and unipersonal), but the existence of an overtly multipersonal reading of the Qur’ān in the 12th/13th century, among people whose origins may go back to the 9th century or even farther back, tells me that the charge of anachronism may be unfair. (Unfortunately, persecution has made the `Alawῑs and others like them rather secretive, so we don’t have a lot of their writings from the past.)”

    OK, I do not know much about the Alawite religion so I looked up the reference. Remember we are dealing with this as a historical attestation to the original Prophetic reading and understanding of the Quran. In his criticism of Matti Moosa Friedman says

    “… In this light, Matti Moosa’s hypothesis…seems anachronistic since a “trinity” is not found prior to the emergence of the Nusayris and it was not even defined as a trinity by the sect before the twelfth century”

    Now Matti Moosa’s hypothesis of a Ghulat trinity is more akin to a modalism of sorts where we have divine manifestations or aspects of one God. Please correct me, if I am wrong. Even in the Alawi religion, then, we do not have the concept of the “trinity” coming up until the 12th century! Even after this century are we dealing with a concept analogous with social trinitarianism? Please correct me because it is the first time I am reading this account.

    I also fail to see the arbitrary connection between this sect with such a late manifestation and a brief “tweet” in early Sunni sources about a sect that deified Ali. How do we connect this? Could your provide some academic literature relating to this connection. Where in this brief “tweet” do we have an understanding of the use of a singular pronoun for collective nouns?

    Clutching at straws here?

    Denis Giron wrote

    “… I am well aware that, in multiple Semitic languages, such singular constructions can be employed to refer to entities which are impersonal, unipersonal, or multipersonal. That non-controversial fact logically entails my position, which itself should not be controversial: use of the relevant term does not, in itself, require that what it is referring to is unipersonal. Can you agree with me on at least that?”

    Not on the crucial singular pronouns. That was my point.

    Denis Giron

    ” But if there was some other thing we did not agree upon, mere recourse to a pronoune/copula would not necessarily settle the disagreement.”

    What would ? see above

    Denis Giron says

    “I really don’t understand the question, nor do I quite grasp its point. Suppose I employed the same pronouns in either case (even alternating between singular and plural constructions in either case). Would that necessarily be a problem for the points I have made in this correspondence?”

    Surely you must delineate between a team of persons and a single multi personal entity. Your analogy of collective nouns does not allow this. Care to provide a text in the new and old testament that differentiates between the two?

    “Well, the Bible is pretty clear at times that there is one God.”

    Who knows? Maybe a metaphorical use of singular expressions to express a Swinburnian view on steroids?

    How do you know that “clarity” is literal?

    Denis Giron Says

    “Not necessarily. Polytheism would be multiple gods. One God comprising multiple Persons who are not individual gods would be monotheism. But, to clarify, my appeal to the team was only to rebut the claim that the singular pronoun/copula necessarily refers to a unipersonal entity.”

    A number of persons in a single team are an expression of independent players. More akin to multiple Gods I say. Also the team does not use the singular “I”. So , on which analogy are we going to express this singular use? Seems to escape me.

    “Of subject, sir, your writing style and erudition strike me as familiar. Forgive me if this is too personal a question, but did we ever correspond on Usenet (e.g. soc.religion.islam) in a previous decade?”

    Not that old but seems like an intelligent guy! ha ha

    Like

  27. In a nutshell I am saying this Denis. My objection is mainly inductive. Can I have please have a linguistic attestation for use of the singular pronoun انا اني to metaphorically express a mutlipersonal entity in Arabic or in Hebrew.

    You cannot refute this by just claiming that the plural of majesty is used metaphorically because we have plenty of evidence of this metaphorical use. You cannot use the same text we dispute to provide proof a metaphorical use.

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  28. God is a spirit said Jesus. John 4 v 24

    Islam cannot top this for oneness.

    Three persons are one and the same indivisible spirit.

    If he is one spirit why should he not speak as if he were one person in the OT?

    Like

  29. “The spirit can be sinned against according to the NT – hence it has personhood.”

    Then we have a heresy of four persons in the trinity

    We have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are persons and we have the “spirit” that unites the three. If that is a person then we have to many

    Liked by 1 person

  30. “Three persons are one and the same indivisible spirit.”

    “That doesn’t even make any sense.”

    Yeah agreed the trinity is quite confusing

    Ken in the first sentence we have the standard formulae of three persons and one nature (spirit in the first sentence)

    In that sentence the spirit cannot be a person according to the Athanasian Creed

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unitarian

      Don’t dodge.

      The spirit can be sinned against, and only persons can be sinned against. Clearly, the spirit as described in the bible has personhood and agency, separate from the father and the son, but is not a separate being.

      Like

    • Unitarian

      Don’t dodge.

      The spirit can be sinned against, and only persons can be sinned against. Clearly, the spirit as described in the bible has personhood and agency, separate from the father and the son, but is not a separate being.

      Like

  31. “This is because the “spirit” is not a person but a nature”

    Does the unitarian deity have both a person and a nature? Is he missing one or the other?

    Like

  32. If so how can you arrive at your much hailed unity if the person and the nature are always separate?

    Perhaps Allah is impersonal and we don’t have to give any thought about the relation between his person and nature.

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  33. I am really confused here. Ok Let us go with the Athanasian Creed

    Jesus is a person, the Father is a person and the Holy Spirit is a Person. Is the Godhead a person then ? Obviously not

    That is why I objected to the noted construct of madmanna. I am actually confused because this is the basic ABC’s of the Athanasian Creed. The Godhead is not a person but is known as a nature that unites the persons.

    Natures are not persons. Look you may change the creed and I have no problem with it. Just clarify your modification of the Creed .

    Liked by 1 person

  34. “…For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one”

    This is what the creed says. The Godhead or “spirit” or “nature” or the “what” or whatever is not a person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spirit, nature, what or whatever. Those are your own words. Not the creeds.

      Is the God you believe in a person? Is his person separate from his nature?

      If so why do you call yourself Unitarian?

      Like

    • Unitarian you are absolutely right.
      At this point they are turning the “ousia” of God into a fourth “Who” without naming it a “person”.

      Like

  35. “The spirit can be sinned against, and only persons can be sinned against. Clearly, the spirit as described in the bible has personhood and agency, separate from the father and the son, but is not a separate being.”

    I am not talking about the holy spirit but the forumlation that the three are united in one spirit. Clearly that is a different sense of the spirit

    Liked by 1 person

  36. “a nature that unites the persons. ”

    ok, where does it say this in the Athanasian creed?

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  37. “Ken, yet we have the Old Testament talking of God as if he is one person. Which Person is talking when the singular “I” is used in the Old Testament?”

    Why should it be one of the trinitarian persons speaking and not the Godhead itself?

    Like

    • That is the issue. I don’t know of any general metaphorical use of the singular pronoun to refer to a potential multi personal entities . Care to provide the details?

      So this is why we have a problem. Through out the Old Testament we get a strong impression of God being a single person because of the way he pronouns are used

      That gives an impression that God is one person. Now if we have a progressive revelation that counters this and claims that the singular pronoun is referring, say to the Father only, in the Old Testament the Jews have a right to shout out blasphemy. God does not do deceit.

      Secondly on this reading of the Old Testament we have an issue of identity. The Father than is identical to God. If God is (is of identity) the Father and God is Jesus than Jesus is the Father. It would be a rather awkward construction to claim that God is really referring to say the Father who is actually “part” of God

      (transitivity if A=B and B=C we should infer that A=C )

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Trinitarians believe that God is one singular Being. Therefore for him to speak to men in the first person singular is a true reflection of his Being and not a deception as unitarians claim.

    Like

    • But this “being” is self aware, knowledgeable, has interpersonal relations and so on

      The “I” in this case has to refer to the being of personhood

      Ironically the person is a substance on norrmative Chrisitian understanding as well

      Being can be equivocal sometimes. It can refer to the nature of a set , say Human beings and would thus be universal

      Being refers to the indivisable substance that predicates are linked to. A person would fall into this category

      Being can refer to the particular set of essential properties that identify someone or something (bundle theory)

      On the first and the last it would not make sense for an “I” to be self aware etc (I don’t like the Bundle theory)

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Where does God specifically say of himself that he is one person, namely the Father?

    Where in the bible does the Father numerically identify himself with Jehovah using his own name?

    What about some proof instead of weak arguments from the use of the first person singular.

    Like

  40. “That is the issue. I don’t know of any general metaphorical use of the singular pronoun to refer to a potential multi personal entities . Care to provide the details?”

    John 4 v 24: “God is a spirit”

    Show me a being with a single spirit that does not communicate using the first person singular.

    Like

    • Madmanna, I am not sure how this verse clarifies anything

      I am talking about the Old Testament use of singular pronouns like “I” to refer to a multi personal entity

      For example, when God is replying to Moses and saying I am who I am, it would seem to me that the obvious plain reading is that God is a person. The “I” is referring to the being of personhood. It is not referring to some abstract set of essential properties (bundle theory) and nor is it referring to some universal or particular notion of “nature”. This “I” is interacting, self aware and so on

      It would be a strange reading to say the “I” refers to one person in the trinity who does not happen to be God but a part of God. In fact, with progressive revelation we have multiple “I”‘s in the Godhead. Furthermore , one can supposedly read into the Old Testament in an anachronistic metaphorical linguistic way that “I” could refer to a Godhead ! (One apologetic trend)

      Liked by 1 person

  41. “It would be a strange reading to say the “I” refers to one person in the trinity who does not happen to be God but a part of God.”

    Can you clarify what you mean here? I don’t understand.

    Like

  42. I think it is generally accepted that a spirit does not have parts. So God does not have parts. Trinitarians do not believe that the three persons are parts of God.

    Like

  43. How God is personal if he is triune does not affect the fact that he is a single indivisible being as trinitarians understand his being.

    Of course he is personal towards his creatures as the use of the word “I” indicates.

    It is logical that God as a single indivisible being uses the first person singular to communicate with his creatures.

    Up to now you have offered no compelling proof as to why this should not be the case if God were triune in nature but still a single indivisible being with a single indivisible spirit. This is what John 4 v 24 states.

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