When Christianity met Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat

When Christianity met Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat

Gauging the monotheism of Christianity

Question Mark

Introduction to Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat

 

There is a very interesting (and stringent) concept in Islam with regards to monotheism; it is called as Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat, often translated as monotheism or uniqueness of God’s attributes and names. According to this criterion of monotheism, the attributes and names of God are unique to Him alone and as such cannot be shared by any creature. On the same corollary, the attributes of creatures cannot be invested on Creator.

We assume that as far as monotheism is considered, there should not be any objection with any person who claims to be a monotheist, even more so, when s/he follows Bible, as Bible explicitly teaches this concept. Consider one such biblical instance:

 

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Exodus 20:4, King James Version)

 

Quite obviously Bible is denying that attribute of any creation can be imputed upon the Almighty. This is logical since such restriction differentiates One God from rest creation lest obvious elements of polytheism, if not pantheism, would creep into monotheism. So far so good!  However, just at this point we want to analyze the stand of Christianity, especially of the Trinitarian strand, and its take on this criterion of monotheism.

 

Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat in Trinitarian Christianity

 

As claimants of monotheism it is highly expected that every Trinitarian would support the concept of monotheism with God’s names and attributes. No wonder to prove the deity of Jesus (peace be upon him), Trinitarians (mis)use the Old Testament titles which were used for the God of the Old Testament. Consider a typical Trinitarian polemics:

 

For instance, Jesus applied an Old Testament title “I Am” to himself, which is significant since he was basically making himself out to be the OT figure known as the Angel of the Lord, the “I Am” of Exodus 3:14! There were many different Jewish strands at that time that already maintained that this figure was God and yet distinct from God.(2) Thus, by using the title “I Am” Jesus was affirming both His deity as well as His distinction from the Father since in the Old Testament “I Am” was applied to both God (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:13) and the Angel of the Lord (cf. Exodus 3:14). (Keith Thompson)

 

The argument is very simple: Jesus (peace be upon him) was applied the “divine” titles of the Old Testament and since only God can take up those divine titles therefore Jesus (peace be upon him) ought to be “God”.

The argument looks good on the surface but a further bit analysis exposes the inconsistency which is inherently practiced in it:

By now we know that in Trinitarian Christianity divine titles could only be given to Jesus (peace be upon him) and to nobody else since God’s divine titles cannot be shared by creatures, and, Jesus (peace be upon him) is not a creature – he is “God”!

On the same reasoning, Jesus (peace be upon him) cannot be imputed with some of the attributes which ill-fits a “God”, say like, Jesus (peace be upon him) of Trinitarians would not marry. Here are the words of another Trinitarian Christian on the same issue:

 

Although Christians do not believe that God is literally a father in the crude way presented in the Qur’an, where divine fatherhood implies a consort, copulation, and possibly even cohabitation with a female deity, one of the signal proofs that the author(s) of the Qur’an couldn’t escape thinking in terms of pagan categories

“The point here is that the authors of the Qur’an could not hear any mention of things like divine paternity (i.e. the fatherhood) or filiation (i.e. sonship) without interpreting them in the sense that the pagans intended by such words.” (Anthony Rogers)

 

It is understandable why Trinitarians object to such notions; whatever proceeds after marital pledges befits humans (or let us say animals) but it certainly does not behoove that God be imputed with such connections of marriage and whatever entails with it. Quite obviously the monotheistic side of Trinitarians well understands the absurdity if the “Son of God” would procreate his “Son”!

 

However, if attributes of procreation, connubial connections etc cannot be attributed to God then, consistently, we cannot apply other attributes also upon God. For example,

 

1)      God being procreated out of the womb of Mary “in the crude way”.

2)      God contained inside His “mother’s” womb

3)      God sucking his life of his mother.

4)      God producing biological waste.

5)      God almost made naked on cross.

6)      God made to bleed and wounded.

7)      God being spat on his face.

8)      And, on top of all of that, “God” dying on the cross

9)      And, “God’s” dead body being enshrouded and placed in cave.

 

So on and so forth. Is not all of the above just a mockery, if not blasphemy, in “monotheism”?

What is disappointing in all of this is that Bible strictly speaks against any such idolatrous humanization of God. Consider the following Old Testament verse:

 

Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, (Deuteronomy 4:16, King James Version)

 

Quite obviously with the premises of monotheism in God’ attributes, the above Old Testament verses makes it very clear that true God cannot assume (or have) any similitude to any of His creation which includes humans – “males or female”. The Qur’an reverberate the same:

 

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (The Qur’an 42:11, Yusuf Ali)

 

 

Once the Bible states that the God cannot have “similitude of any figure, the likeness of male…” included; or, when the Qur’an asserted that there is “nothing whatever like unto Him” – they quite explicitly reject any concept that God would have/take a male/human form and then roam around in the streets of Palestine as Mary’s biologically sired – “in the crude way”!

 

Trinitarian scholar have a standard approach, albeit, inconsistent when dealing with Old Testament verses of the order as cited above. Consider the following two scholarly comments:

 

Deuteronomy 4:16

The likeness of male or female – Such as Baal-peor and the Roman Priapus, Ashtaroth or Astarte, and the Greek and Roman Venus; after whom most nations of the world literally went a whoring. (Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible)

the likeness of male or female; of a man or a woman; so some of the Heathen deities were in the likeness of men, as Jupiter, Mars, Hercules, Apollo, &c. and others in the likeness of women, as Juno, Diana, Venus, &c. Some think Osiris and Isis, Egyptian deities, the one male, the other female, are respected; but it is not certain that these were worshipped by them so early. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

 

As we have been stating that Trinitarians as claimants of monotheism denounce worship of false gods who were in the likeness of men; however, why to be flagrantly biased and inconsistent to denounce only some particular human-gods like Apollo and Hercules etc whereas Jesus (peace be upon him), another human, is easily accepted as the “God”.

 

In all these fast and loose, Trinitarians miss out on the spirit of Deuteronomy 4:16 (and other verses of the order) that it denounces any humanization of God be it in the form of Apollo and Hercules of the European cultures or, Jesus (peace be upon him) of the Middle Eastern setting!

 

Conclusion

 

 

We would be dumbfounded if at least a monotheist claims that concept of Tawhid Al Asma Wa Sifat or monotheism with regards to God’s attributes and names is illogical or too complex to understand. It is simply that God’s attributes cannot be vested on any of His creation nor the attributes of His creation be imputed on the divine God. We saw how both Qur’an and Bible expressly speak against it.

 

Very truly Trinitarians apply it, however, only on selected areas and personalities. As an instance, they do reject the notion that God could or would sire offspring since this is “thinking in terms of pagan categories”. Nevertheless, they have no qualms when they ring their church bells about “God” being delivered out of Mary’s womb “in the crude way” or, “God” being poked on cross while he was almost naked or, still more weirdly, a dead “God” hanging on the cross with probably scavenger hovering over “His” head until his “dead body” was to be placed in a cave. Out of definite Trinitarian agenda, Trinitarians somehow see all these “in terms of monotheistic categories”.

 

Trinitarians would easily accept it as “monotheistic” that their god had birth right to produce biological waste and relieve “Himself” off it. Yet when Qur’an criticizes Christians that God cannot sire offspring, Trinitarians like Anthony Rogers would become monotheistically prude to comment that, “The point here is that the authors of the Qur’an could not hear any mention of things like divine paternity (i.e. the fatherhood) or filiation (i.e. sonship) without interpreting them in the sense that the pagans intended by such words.” In the name of “divine paternity”, Rogers and the likes do not hesitate to sell the idolatry and blasphemy with regards to “Son’s” humanity.

 

Finally, we would quote from the Qur’an where, we believe, Allah (SWT) is insinuating towards the same biological nature of Jesus (peace be upon him) which ill-fits God:

 

Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Qur’an 6:75, Yusuf Ali)

 

We don’t think that it needs to be expressly stated what Allah (SWT) wanted to allude by stating that Christ (peace be upon him) ate food.

 

That was for consistency and “monotheism” of Trinitarian Christianity.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Oliver Elphick  On December 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    The problem with your analysis is that you have imported the Islamic concept of Tawhid into the bible, where it does not belong. Nothing is to be imported into the bible; the bible itself explains itself. Importing external concepts into it is to corrupt the word of God.

    Tawhid: “According to this criterion of monotheism, the attributes and names of God are unique to Him alone and as such cannot be shared by any creature. On the same corollary, the attributes of creatures cannot be invested on Creator.”

    But the bible does not say this at all. On the contrary, we are told at the very beginning:

    Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
      27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

    Therefore it is plain that men share in some part in the attributes of God, or we could not be like him. We do not possess divinity or the attributes of divinity: omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, eternal life without beginning, or self-existence. But we do possess personality, intelligence and rationality; we are able to have relationships with God and with other people. We are able to love.

    You quoted only half of the second commandment, and thus distorted its meaning:

    Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    The commandment forbids making an image to worship. It does not say not to make any image at all; God himself commanded Moses to have images of two cherubim made, to go at either end of the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant. He ordered Moses to make an image of a serpent (Numbers 20) for the people to look at to get healing from a plague he had sent.

    When men make an image for worship, either physical like the crude pagan Gods of the ancients, or the mental idol which is Allah, they imagine for themselves a god and make it to their size. They then think that they can handle this god they have made. The true God is incapable of being truly represented by any image, because he is far greater than any image can possibly portray.

    Isaiah 46:5 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
    and compare me, that we may be alike?
      6 Those who lavish gold from the purse,
    and weigh out silver in the scales,
    hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
    then they fall down and worship!
      7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
    they set it in its place, and it stands there;
    it cannot move from its place.
    If one cries to it, it does not answer
    or save him from his trouble.

    You wrote: //By now we know that in Trinitarian Christianity divine titles could only be given to Jesus (peace be upon him) and to nobody else since God’s divine titles cannot be shared by creatures, and, Jesus (peace be upon him) is not a creature – he is “God”!//

    Indeed so. We know this primarily because Jesus is himself the creator and is uncreated:

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    Verse 3 in particular means that we cannot say that God first created Jesus who then created everything else. If Jesus was made then he is someone who was made without him, which would contradict verse 3. He cannot have created himself; therefore of necessity he is eternal and with God from the beginning as verse 1 and 2 say.

    Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

    Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

    You rightly say that we object to the crude notions of God physically begetting a son, like the pagan gods. This is not so much because of the inappropriate physicality, as you think, as because it necessarily would mean that Jesus had a beginning, there would have been a time when God existed and he did not, which is absolutely not the case. The Son of God, the Word, is from all eternity with God.

    Seeing that God is all-powerful, it is evident that there is no reason why he should not be able to take on a human form should he wish, and that is what he has done in Jesus. But that means that the divine and eternal Son also has a physical body, and that necessarily implies interaction with the physical world, or there would be no point to it. So evidently his physical body can do all that our bodies can do and it can also have done to it anything that can be done to our bodies. Indeed, Jesus came and took human flesh entirely for the purpose of dying as a man in our place.

    So your list of attributes that cannot be applied to God is beside the point. For a start, they are not attributes but events. But also they are events that can happen to any physical body, and the Son of God had taken on a physical body for the express purpose that these and other physical things should happen to it. It was his intention that he should be in every way like us, but without sin, so that he would be qualified to stand in our place as our goel (kinsman-redeemer) and remove the penalty of sin from us – or rather from anyone who would receive him and accept the work he has done for us.

    As with the second commandment, so with Deuteronomy 4, you quote only a small part and distort it by removing the context:

    Deut 4:5 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,  16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,  17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air,  18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.  19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.  20 But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.  21 Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.  22 For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land.  23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you.  24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

    God is jealous for his name, that it should not be diminished by having some idol made that inevitably misrepresents him and furthermore is made by man, whereas God made man. How should the created attempt to make a representation of his creator? But absolutely nothing here stops God from taking on human form. It is not men making something to represent God, but God taking manhood into himself. Will you say that God is unable to do this?

    What your objections amount to is that your pride is offended by God’s humility.

  • qmarkmark  On December 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for your notes Oliver. It has always been interesting to read your feed back.

    I don’t think that Genesis 1:26 could be used to claim that humans “share” in God’s attributes because that is not what the verse intends. Humans made in the image of God when read in conjunction with the rest of the verse where God promises superiority of humans over rest of creation imply that unlike rest of the creation, God awarded the faculty of intelligence and understanding to humans by which they would rule. On the other hand God didn’t give this feature to any of His other creation. So, God who already has intelligence and sense of understanding at His level awarded created intelligence suitable to men. This is why the verse says God created Humans in his image. I don’t see we “sharing” any attribute of God thereby.

    Each and every attribute of God is divine one cannot draw a line that a certain attribute of God is divine and others are not and therefore I can see your problem when you commented, “Therefore it is plain that men share in some part in the attributes of God, or we could not be like him. We do not possess divinity or the attributes of divinity: omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, eternal life without beginning, or self-existence.” Thus, I don’t believe that merely omniscience is a divine attribute which could not be shared. Let me know which attribute is non-divine and thus, shareable.

    “When men make an image for worship, either physical like the crude pagan Gods of the ancients, or the mental idol which is Allah, they imagine for themselves a god and make it to their size. They then think that they can handle this god they have made. The true God is incapable of being truly represented by any image, because he is far greater than any image can possibly portray.”

    Why don’t you apply the above on Jesus (peace be upon him). If true God is incapable of being represented in any form or image then what was the form of Jesus (peace be upon him). However, Allah (SWT) certainly qualifies your own yardstick since we never gave him any image or shape.

    “You rightly say that we object to the crude notions of God physically begetting a son, like the pagan gods. This is not so much because of the inappropriate physicality, as you think, as because it necessarily would mean that Jesus had a beginning, there would have been a time when God existed and he did not, which is absolutely not the case. The Son of God, the Word, is from all eternity with God.”

    I am sorry, but I am concerned about the “physicality” and so was Anthony Rogers – a Trinitarian Christian and an interlocutor. For Rogers, God cannot sire since it ill-fits His divine attribute. It is crude and animal like. So my query in the paper, why only siring a taboo, what about God answering natures’ call; isn’t that crude and animal-like ill fitting the divine attribute of God?

    “Seeing that God is all-powerful, it is evident that there is no reason why he should not be able to take on a human form should he wish, and that is what he has done in Jesus.”

    We also believe that God is all-powerful AND He would He would do only those things which does not violate his divine attributes. Taking human form certainly negates his divine attributes since it condescends him to the level of mere animals. Now he would have to go through all the process, I already listed, which let alone “God”, does not even fits humans in all openness.

    Furthermore, I believe that because he is all-powerful He does not need to humanize Himself since merely on the same fact that he is all-powerful He should be able to do whatever He intends to do without entering His creation. Especially when He Himself declared that He cannot be deified in any “male or female” form (Deuteronomy 4:16).

    Yet further, I don’t think that his all-powerful quality allows Him to do anything He likes. He can’t be unjust or lie.

    Continued on the next post.

  • qmarkmark  On December 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    “But that means that the divine and eternal Son also has a physical body, and that necessarily implies interaction with the physical world, or there would be no point to it. So evidently his physical body can do all that our bodies can do and it can also have done to it anything that can be done to our bodies. Indeed, Jesus came and took human flesh entirely for the purpose of dying as a man in our place.

    So your list of attributes that cannot be applied to God is beside the point.”

    As you definitely seem to allow all the idolatrous and blasphemous attributes on God, I need to re-remind that because the act of siring offspring was an animal like activity therefore majority of Christians speak against it. So, do you allow it for your “God”. Would you accept that it is “beside the point” and there is possibility that Jesus (peace be upon him) could marry and sire kids? I assume since you accept the list I gave, you might not have much problem into adding this one to it. And, you also need to let me know would Jesus’ (peace be upon him) kids also be divine and would “Father” then become “Grand-Father”.

    However, if you chose No then I would certainly ask you why you don’t allow begetting kids to Jesus (peace be upon him) if you can allow him death, hunger and answering natures’ call?

    Coming back to the misuse of God’s all-powerful attribute, as you try to portray that He can become human since He is omnipotent, on the same lines, can’t he save sinners without entering humanity since he is omnipotent – I should be able to do it, I hope so.

    “So your list of attributes that cannot be applied to God is beside the point. For a start, they are not attributes but events. But also they are events that can happen to any physical body, and the Son of God had taken on a physical body for the express purpose that these and other physical things should happen to it.”

    Our query was not whether worldly things can “happen” to Jesus (peace be upon him) or not. We enquired whether such down to earth, animal-like things would God chose to do and would they be compatible with His divine attributes. Definitely, my paper was aimed with a presupposition wherein Rogers disallowed. He asserted that siring is “crude” animal-like activity which cannot be mapped on God so I asked why JUST siring, why not other activities I listed.

    I am sorry but your following comment is understandably very inconsistent:

    “God is jealous for his name, that it should not be diminished by having some idol made that inevitably misrepresents him and furthermore is made by man, whereas God made man. How should the created attempt to make a representation of his creator? But absolutely nothing here stops God from taking on human form.”

    Because God CREATED man and therefore man cannot represent God without violating His status and name – he has limitations, therefore, it makes definite grounds why God cannot become man since man is a created being and entering it would breach His status and name.

    Just as you rightly argue that the “created cannot attempt to make representation of his creator” similarly the Creator cannot become a created. They would always be poles apart and diminishing the difference is nothing but polytheism.

    “It is not men making something to represent God, but God taking manhood into himself. Will you say that God is unable to do this?”

    We provided various arguments why God cannot take manhood. Yet further, God will not enter humanity since He had expressly denied that He should not be deified in any “male” form – Deuteronomy 4:16. So by entering humanity He would contradict Himself because thereafter it would logically become permissible to represent God in a male form just like the Roman Catholics do today – they do have idols of Jesus (peace be upon him) and they worship it.

    As you asked whether “God would be unable to do this”, before I answer it, I would like to ask is God unable to sire kids in the crude way. if God is able to sire kids in the crude way then he is definitely able to enter manhood but then I would not see any difference between any African, European or Arabian god and the God of Christianity.

    “What your objections amount to is that your pride is offended by God’s humility.”

    Brother, it is not my pride offended here. I merely listen and follow. Once I understand that God and His attributes all of which are divine cannot be share, I don’t allow it for myself. I do not accept humanization of God since I cannot worship a God who is in lavatory relieving himself or on a cross “dead” yet all of this would be acceptable except that God cannot beget kids – expected inconsistency.

    Sincerely,
    Q.M.

  • Oliver Elphick  On December 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    First, what is meant by our being made in the image of God?

    You avoid the issue by arbitrarily restricting the attributes of God to those that belong only to him. I suppose this is part of Muslim thinking but it is not biblical. The attributes that I described as only divine are those that are part of being infinite, which we are not. But there are clearly attributes and capabilities that we share with God, as I mentioned: personality, intelligence, rationality, and most of all love. God made us to love him and to be loved by him; this is impossible if we do not share similar attributes. But God is infinite and his attributes are always on an infinite scale, while we are limited and our attributes are similarly limited.

    A further part of our being made in God’s image and likeness is that we also have a trinitarian nature. A man is soul, body and spirit, which are separate yet make one person. In the same way, but much more so, the three persons of God are one God.

    You wrote, “I don’t believe that merely omniscience is a divine attribute which could not be shared. Let me know which attribute is non-divine and thus, shareable.”

    Very simply, the attributes of God that are his alone are those that depend on his infinity, the fact that he is God and not created. No created being could be omniscient because that would require infinite capacity for knowledge. But God has not created any infinite being.

    You wrote, “Why don’t you apply the above on Jesus (peace be upon him). If true God is incapable of being represented in any form or image then what was the form of Jesus (peace be upon him).”

    This is where you distort what the scripture says. The scripture’s prohibition is on man-made images of God. Jesus is NOT a man-made image; he is an image of God made by God, and therefore is clearly in an entirely different category. Thus, Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God”. In him God made visible to men all that could be physically represented of God’s invisible nature. Furthermore, Jesus retains for ever the humanity that he took on 2,000 years ago. He is the eternal God in human form at the right hand of the Father.

    You wrote, “I am sorry, but I am concerned about the “physicality” and so was Anthony Rogers – a Trinitarian Christian and an interlocutor. For Rogers, God cannot sire since it ill-fits His divine attribute. It is crude and animal like. So my query in the paper, why only siring a taboo, what about God answering natures’ call; isn’t that crude and animal-like ill fitting the divine attribute of God?”

    Rogers, whoever he is, is not to be put in place of the scripture. The scripture makes no objections to physicality; this is an aspect of Islam that has been taken from the Gnostics, who thought that God was too pure to have created gross matter. This is not a biblical idea, and it is no use for arguing against Christianity to me. Nevertheless there was no question of Jesus’ taking a wife, and I can see at least two possible reasons for this. First, that his mission, which was to die for the sins of the world, would have been hard on a wife, who would have been deprived of her husband early in her marriage. Far more important is the second, which is that the bride of Jesus (spiritually) is to be the church, and therefore he could not and would not marry anyone else.

    You wrote, “We also believe that God is all-powerful AND He would He would do only those things which does not violate his divine attributes. Taking human form certainly negates his divine attributes since it condescends him to the level of mere animals.”

    Here you are imposing your own view on the bible, as well as your own definition of divine attributes. You are quite simply wrong.

    You wrote, “Furthermore, I believe that because he is all-powerful He does not need to humanize Himself since merely on the same fact that he is all-powerful He should be able to do whatever He intends to do without entering His creation.

    Yet further, I don’t think that his all-powerful quality allows Him to do anything He likes. He can’t be unjust or lie.”

    However, Islam’s insistence that Allah can forgive arbitrarily in fact does make him unjust, since justice demands that sin should be punished. Thus you have just undermined your entire position. God is perfectly just and therefore requires that the penalty should be paid for every sin; but he is also perfectly merciful and wants all men to be saved and come tot he knowledge of himself. The incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection are the means that God chose and planned, before ever he created the world, to reconcile these two aspects of his nature and thus glorify himself by displaying the full extent both of his love and of his justice.

    When God created mankind he did so on the basis that the son is incorporated in his father; so we are all in Adam when we are born. But we have the possibility of switching to being incorporated in Jesus Christ. If we do, we share in his death and thus in the paid penalty for our sins and we share in his resurrection life; and in the future we will share in his glory and complete freedom from sin. This is the way in which God has provided a means for us to be reconciled to him.

    You wrote, “Because God CREATED man and therefore man cannot represent God without violating His status and name – he has limitations, therefore, it makes definite grounds why God cannot become man since man is a created being and entering it would breach His status and name.”

    This is invalid, since it plainly contradicts what the bible reveals. Your premise is wrong and therefore so is your conclusion. The premise “man cannot represent God without violating His status and name” contradicts the plain teaching of the bible, that Jesus is in truth the image of the invisible God. When God takes on humanity, humanity can represent God.

  • qmarkmark  On December 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for your notes Brother Oliver.

    I believe I very explicitly enquired, “Let me know which attribute is non-divine and thus, shareable.” To which you responded, “Very simply, the attributes of God that are his alone are those that depend on his infinity, the fact that he is God and not created. No created being could be omniscient because that would require infinite capacity for knowledge. But God has not created any infinite being.” which does not respond to my query. Please be specific and list me the attributes of God which are not divine and infinite and thus can be shared by mortals. Please enlist.

    You wrote, “This is where you distort what the scripture says. The scripture’s prohibition is on man-made images of God. Jesus is NOT a man-made image; he is an image of God made by God, and therefore is clearly in an entirely different category.”

    I don’t believe I am distorting anything here since we need to consider why God prohibited making images of images for worship. It is because man cannot transcend their limited knowledge and thus they would again create a god which is similar to them – this was exactly Deuteronomy 4:16 prohibits. However, Jesus (peace be upon him) also falls in the same category; he also has a human form. Thus, Roman Catholics making idols of Jesus (peace be upon him) for worship does make sense if Deuteronomy 4:16 is rejected. Furthermore, I would also like to have your views on Deuteronomy 4:16 which expressly speaks against any god worship in human, in fact, “male” form. Why this prohibition its application on Jesus (peace be upon him).

    You wrote, “Rogers, whoever he is, is not to be put in place of the scripture. The scripture makes no objections to physicality; this is an aspect of Islam that has been taken from the Gnostics, who thought that God was too pure to have created gross matter.”

    I never argued that God did not make gross matter. I very clearly argued that God cannot take gross and animal like attributes upon himself. For example siring kids. God definitely institutionalized it but for animals not for Himself. So, you, by mistake, are misrepresenting my stand. And, as you wrote “scripture makes no objections to physicality…” do you accept God siring in the gross way or consorting like humans? I humbly expect your explicit reply over this for further discussion.

    You alleged, “However, Islam’s insistence that Allah can forgive arbitrarily in fact does make him unjust, since justice demands that sin should be punished. Thus you have just undermined your entire position.”

    I don’t think that there is injustice anywhere, on the contrary, punishing for each and every mistake without neglecting it while humans were created with limitations is in fact injustice. Seeking mistakes during the entire lifetime of humans and then waiting for blood and flesh as penalty does create a horrific picture of so-claimed “loving God”. I am sorry, but it seems more than any “loving God”, He is an exacting accountant. Furthermore, how “just” is it to punish somebody else for someone else. Finally, on the contrary, in the Bible I observed God as oft-forgiving without any lookout for blood vengeance for justice:

    https://donotsaytrinity.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/does-christianity-really-necessitate-ransom-for-salvation/

  • mansubzero  On December 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    tell me oliver, why would you worship a god who wipes his bum after he excrete? if you went into a communual toilet and so did your god, would you worship him while you and your god answer the call of nature at the same time?

  • mansubzero  On December 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    it is not suprising for christians to worship the meat of pig. all god has to do is give the swine the ability to speak and then hide in its flesh. give an animal the ability to communicate like humans and christians become animal worshippers. or if paul had told them that god LIFT the status of a pig to his level they would bow before the pig like the hindus bow before the 10 head god. they think the 10 heads REPRESENTS the powers of god. oliver u and your pagan brethren have so much in common and it is not suprising.

  • mansubzero  On December 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    by the way, islam came and told your god to use WATER after excreting 🙂

  • Oliver Elphick  On December 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    qmarkmark, You say that Jesus cannot be the image of the invisible God, as the scripture says. Since you are merely contradicting scripture, you are obviously wrong. The scripture says seveal times that Jesus is indeed God in human flesh.

    //I don’t think that there is injustice anywhere, on the contrary, punishing for each and every mistake without neglecting it while humans were created with limitations is in fact injustice. Seeking mistakes during the entire lifetime of humans and then waiting for blood and flesh as penalty does create a horrific picture of so-claimed “loving God”. I am sorry, but it seems more than any “loving God”, He is an exacting accountant. Furthermore, how “just” is it to punish somebody else for someone else. Finally, on the contrary, in the Bible I observed God as oft-forgiving without any lookout for blood vengeance for justice://

    A limitation is not sin. It is not a sin to be unable to jump higher than a certain height, or to be unable to lift more than a certain amount. But within our proper limitations, we are required to be perfect in order to be acceptable to God. Since he is himself perfect, nothing less than perfection can be acceptable to him; otherwise his own perfection would be marred. Any inclination to depart from the will of God is sin; any act that does not conform to God’s character is sin. In the scripture, God says of himself that he “will by no means clear the guilty” yet he has mercy on thousands who keep his commandments. However, those thousands have also sinned because “there is no one who does not sin”. The Old Testament does not show explicitly how these conflicting statements can be resolved; the New Testament does. Jesus is the sacrifice by which our sin is taken away and our perfection will be restored.

    So yes, God is an exacting accountant, but all the debits can be transferred to Jesus’ (that is to God’s) own account.

    No man is to be punished for the sins of another. But Jesus is the willing victim, who does not have a punishment imposed on him but who takes it willingly out of his infinite love for mankind. In so doing he shows both the dreadfulness of sin, which is far, far worse than you Muslims imagine in your shallow thinking, and also the ininite depth of God’s love. When Jesus bore our sin, it was not he only who suffered. He was separated from God for the first and only time in eternity because he was bearing our sin and therefore had become unacceptable to God. He shrank from the horror of that separation; but equally the Father and Holy Spirit would have suffered by being separated from him. The cost of our redemption is vast and terrible beyond anything that we can imagine.

  • mansubzero  On December 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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