Chapter 13: Monotheism, the Common Word
Unity of God is the common word of all prophets. It is the essential part of all the divine religions. But why there is only One God? Why can't be a company of gods creating and governing the universe?!
You will also learn that the Christian doctrine of Trinity is incompatible with Monotheism.
This chapter aims at introducing the most fundamental aspect of all divine religions, a foundation on which all other religious issues stands; a touchstone by which everything else must be attested.
As a matter of fact, believing in God, requires His unity. In other words, if there is a Creator and Sustainer for the universe, He must be One and only One. Thus, even those who supposedly believe in more than one god, they attempt to unify them to one godhead, and hence plurality of god has no logic.
This proof is suggested by Mulla Sadra. The similar concept of it is also suggested by Aquinas, St Thomas (1225-1274), the Angelic Doctor and the Prince of Scholastics Italian philosopher and theologian.
Premise 1: God is necessary infinite.
Premise 2: There is no plurality in an infinite being.
Thus: There is no possible plurality in godhead.
God is necessarily infinite. If several were to exit, none of them would be really infinite, for, it is impossible to have more than one infinite being. The reason being, each should have some perfection not possessed by the others. In other words, there must be an end for the existence of one of them, so that there would be a room for the other to exist, which results in finite of them.
For instance, if A & B were to owe a farm, then each one must owe only a limited piece of land. But if A or B owns a farm which covers the entire Earth, then there is no room for the other to owe anything.
God is necessarily infinite Being, which means His existence is limitless and hence no room for any other to exist.
Therefore, the essence of Godhead necessitates His Unity. The Holy Quran referring to this proof states: “ Allah bears witness that there is no god but Him ” 1 or: “ He is the First and the Last, the Appearance, and the Hidden ”
At least for the following three reasons, we understand that god is infinite.
1) Finite means limitation and limitation mean god is limited in existence, knowledge, power, etc. A limited god like other limited and finite creatures is just like other creatures and need to depend in his existence, knowledge and power to an unlimited being.
2) Existence is the opposite of non-existence. A being which is necessarily Existent, has no possibility of non-existence.
3) The chains of causes and effects in this world must reach the first Cause whose existence is necessarily and independent from others.
Premise 1: The universe is harmonic.
Premise 2: Any harmonic universe needs one conductor.
The unified universe has One Creator.
The universe as it initially appeared to us, is the combination of billions of different objects; from a tiny cell to the super-giant galaxies. Nonetheless, in spite of this plurality, a closer look suggests that there is a universal unification linking and joining all seemingly separate parts of the universe together and the more the secretes of nature discovered the more this unity is realized.
The most acknowledged theory for the beginning of the universe is the big Bang theory proposing that the universe was created in a gigantic explosion and that the various elements observed today were produced within the first few minutes after the big bang hydrogen and helium would have been the primary products of the big bang. At 1 microsecond after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons dissolve into individual quarks, so the universe was a 'gas' consisting of quarks.
Astronomers assert today that the entire universe we can see is made from matter of the kind we find near us, and in about the same abundances of the elements everywhere.
As mentioned in the chapter ‘Finger prints of God' all galaxies gravitationally interacting and orbiting about ‘a common centre'.
For this reason, a natural law governing an atom is also governing the entire universe. The same gravitational law governing the fall of an object here on earth governs all the celestial bodies in the sky.
Thus, Newton by observation of the fall of an apple in his orchard discovered the gravitation and conceived that the same force governed the motion of the Moon and the apple and hence gravitation is universal. Similarly, Newton’s laws of motion or optics apply to the earthly objects as much as the celestial ones.
There are millions of animal species on earth, yet despite this plurality their structure is quite unified.
The law of cause and effect is also another universal law in the nature, whether man has discovered all the causes of an effect or not, philosophically there is a cause/causes for every effect.
Therefore, the operation of the nature is like a harmonic symphony, which demonstrates the great harmony of creation. Every creature is like a musical pulse, which is made up of the sum of many pure sine-wave tones, playing harmonically in the orchestra of the universe. This universal orchestra proves that there is only one conductor directing the orchestra in performance.
If there were more than one God, disharmony would prevail.
Q. Why can't be the company of gods who are wisely governing the universe?
If there is more than one god for the universe, either they are all the same in everything or totally different, or there are some similarity and some differences amongst them.
Plurality of gods mean that they are not totally same, for, if they were the same in all aspects then there would be one not more than one. On the other hand, plurality means there are differences, and if there are differences there must be disharmony and chaos in the universe.
For instance, God is Omni-wise, and there cannot be two or more omni-wise, because plurality requires that they are not the same in their wisdom, which means one is wiser than the other and the one who is less wise lacks some wisdom and lack of wisdom is insufficiency whereas there cannot be any insufficiency in God.
If there were to be two necessary beings, there must be at least one distinction factor between them so that one possesses something that the other lacks. That distinction however must be also a necessary being, or else the two necessary beings cannot be necessary in their essence. Thus two imagine two necessary being we need another necessary differentiating being, which results in three necessary beings.
Similarly as they are all necessary beings, there must be a different between then or else they are the same. In order to differentiate between the three necessary beings we need at least two other necessary differentiating beings, which result in five necessary beings.
Again to differentiate between five necessary beings, we need at least three necessary differentiating beings to differentiate between the five necessarily beings, which results in eight necessarily beings and the calculating goes on infinitely which results in infinite necessary beings!
God is the source of perfection and blessings. It is not possible for such Perfect Being to deprive others of that perfection and blessing. Thus, if there were more than one God, he would have introduced himself through his messengers or other ways, whereas, all the prophets and messengers have invited to One Unique God, therefore there is no any other god than Him.
Although all divine religions advocate to the ‘unity of God' Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the main living divine religions are more known for the concept of monotheism. Thus, they are sometimes classified as Abramic Religions for their monotheistic concept.
Among the followers of all the divine religions, however, the mainstream church formulated in the 4 th century the doctrine of Trinity. The classical Western formula of Trinity is: “ three persons in one substance ( homoousios ) not a similar substance ( homoiousios ). By three persons they mean: ‘god, the father, god the son, and god; the holy spirit. According to this doctrine, God incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ.
The term Trinity is not used in the Bible and Nazorean Jewish Christians, who were in the time of Jesus looked upon him not as God but as a prophet and anointed Messiah. Historically the mysterious term ‘Trinity' was first used in the 2 nd century, by the Latin theologian Tertullian, but the concept was developed in the course of the debates on the nature of Christ between Arius and Athanasius in the 4 th century.
In the words of the Athanasian Creed ‘the Father is God, the Son is God, and the
Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.”
Since When Jesus became god?!
In the first century, after the disappearance of Jesus, those who followed him continued to affirm the Divine Unity. This is illustrated by the fact that the Shepherd of Hermas, written in about 90 A.D. was regarded as a book of Revelation. The first commandment was believing in One God.
According to Theodore Zahn, the article of faith up0 until about 250 A.D was, “I believe in God, the Almighty' 2 Between 180 and 210 A.D. the word ‘Father' was added before the ‘Almighty'. This was bitterly contested by a number of the leaders of the church. Bishop Victor and Bishop Zephysius are on record as condemning this movement.
As the teaching of Jesus was spread, it came into contact with other cultures and into conflict with those in authority. In Greece , especially, it became metamorphosed, both by its being expressed in a new language for the first time, and by its realignment with the ideas and philosophy of that culture.
It was the many-gods viewpoint of the Greeks, which largely contributed to the formulation of this doctrine of the Trinity together with the gradual elevation of Jesus by some, notably Paul of Tarsus, from a prophet to God.
It was only in 325 Ad that the doctrine of the Trinity was declared to be the orthodox Christian belief. Even then, some of those who signed the creed did not believe in it.
That historic decision was more based on a political expediency shown mainly by the part played by Constantine, the pagan emperor of Rome, who presided over the council of Nicea, than on the faculty of Scriptures.
As a result, Rome replaced Jerusalem as the centre of Pauline Christianity.
The doctrine of Trinity since the time of Constantine became officially accepted as the basis of Christianity in Europe. But as it soon caused much confusion among people many were told to believe it without trying to understand it.
Yet, broadly speaking, these schools of thought developed regarding trinity to be explained.
The first is associated with St Augustine , who lived in the 4 th century and was of the view that the doctrine could but be proved but could be illustrated. St Victor, who lived in the 12 th century, is associated with the second school, who believed that the doctrine could both be demonstrated and illustrated. And the 14 th century saw the growth of the 3 rd school, which believed that the doctrine of Trinity could be neither illustrated nor proved, but should be blindly accepted and believed.
The author of the fourth Gospel was the first to identify Jesus with the Logos or Word who became flesh for the salvation of mankind. In early Christianity he was also regarded as the ‘image of God', not the eternal God himself.
In early decades of the 4 th century two opposing views, the view held by the Presbyter Arius that stated Christ was similar in substance (homoiousios) with the Father, whereas the Bishop Athanasius held the view that Christ was the same substance (homoousios) of the Father.
Arius argued that Jesus was the firstborn of the Father, was created by the Father and thus was a creature, although the first and highest creature. Arius logically deduced that if the Son was begotten by the Father, there must have been a time when the Son did not exist, that is, before his creation by the Father. The Son therefore, had a beginning.
The debate was brought to the attention of Constantine the Great, emperor of Rome that the controversy might threaten the unity if his empire. In order for Constantine to settle the dispute concerning the nature of Jesus Christ he summoned an ecumenical council at Nicaea; an ancient city now Iznik, in Turkey in 325 AD. Of the 1800 bishops in the Roman Empire, 318 attended the council.
The Great emperor attended the Council and allowed various debaters to speak by turns. After an intense controversy a confession of faith was drawn up at the order of Constantine and was singed by all the bishops affirming that Jesus Christ was ‘Very God of Very God' and ‘of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made.'
And all the papers of the Arius' book were burned. All those who refused to sign the creed were threatened by the Emperor with banishment. Naturally, all signed. However, some of them regretted what they had done at the council and wrote a letter to the Emperor stating: “We committed an impious act, O prince, by subscribing to a blasphemy from fear of you.” 3
It is indeed sad that the creed of faith professed by millions of Christians since the 4th century was born amidst this sorry scene and was at one time considered blasphemous.
The earliest draft of the creed known to us today, and the one that was agreed upon at the council is:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of all things, visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father; he is begotten, that is to say, he is of the substance of God, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things, both in heaven and on earth, were made.
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and took our nature, and became man; he suffered and rose again the third day; he ascended into heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead. And we believe in the Holy Ghost.
The holy catholic and apostolical church condemns all those who say that there was a period in which the Son of God did not exist; that before he was begotten, he had no existence; that he was called out of nothing into being; that he is of a different substance from the Father; and that he is susceptible of variation or of change.
(http://www.essene.com/Church/Conspiracy/CouncilOfNicea.html# The Council of Nicea )
Yes, apart from the above-mentioned Nicean creed which clearly states the Deity of Jesus, Christian Doxology is also another proof of that. Doxology means praising God in glory. Christians they say it not only to God, the father, but to Jesus as well. 4
An eminent scholar of Christian history admits that the present-day Christianity is a ‘mask' on the face of Jesus. Muslims believe in Jesus without the mask. This in a nutshell, has been the point of difference between Islam and the church for the last 1400 years. Even before the advent of Islam, the Arians, the Paulicians, and the Goths, to mention only a few accepted Jesus, but rejected the ‘mask'.
The Christina faith contains mysteries and Christian theologians admit that the doctrine of Trinity is one of them, and hence cannot be logically explained. Thus, the sole so called proof for so-called the Blessed Trinity is the Bible mainly the Gospel of John not even the synoptic. They also attempt in explaining the Trinity in terms of analogies involving clover leaves, the appearance of water as ice, liquid and steam.
If you have a Christian background, I suggest you free yourself from the Councils and Creeds as well as the fear of being labeled a "heretic" by friends and relatives, and then you will find in the following passages the chance to confirm what you always suspected, the chance to replace nonsense with sense, the chance to replace trinity with Monotheism.
The Ten Commandments is spinal core and the common word of all divine religions, which presents the main articles of faith. Although the details of some of the Commandments are not exactly the same in the Old Testament, New Testament and the Holy Quran, yet at least the very First Commandment, which deals with the unity of God, is the same in all of them. The following is the quotation from all the tree scriptures:
a. The Old Testament: “You shall have no other gods before My face. You shall make for yourself no idol in the likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.”5
b. New Testament: When one of the scribes asked Jesus “which is the chief commandment of all” Jesus answered: “The chief one is, ‘ Hear O Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind, and with your whole strength .” 6
c. The Holy Quran: “Say (O Mohammad): Come I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything as equal with Him”.7
Therefore, believing in One God is according to the words of Jesus (peace be on him) the chief of the Ten Commandments and obviously when he said: “OUR God is one Lord” he included himself. How is it then possible for him to be of ‘the same substance of God' and ‘very God of very God'? It is not the most impious act and accusation to Prophet Jesus? Thus, Trinity is very unscriptural.
Christians admit the very differences between the persons of Trinity, which leaves no shadow of doubt that they are neither equal to each other nor are they to be identified with one another. The Father begets and is not begotten; the son is begotten and not a father.
If the three are one, why Christians consider it a sin of heresy to replace the order of the three; meaning by reversing the formula: ‘In the name of the holy spirit, and of the son , and of the father'?! For if they are absolutely equal and coeval, then order of precedence need not be so scrupulously observed.
Common sense and logic is the universal means of exchange of opinions amongst humans. Through the means of logic one even from a different religious or cultural denomination can convey his opinion and make others understand it.
Christians say on the one hand that ‘there is only one God', and on the other hand declare: ‘ Yet in the one name there are three eternal persons.' The only conclusion is that they have a mathematical problem that even Einstein could not solve. Because we learned at school that one person plus another person plus another person are equal to three persons, and they can never be one person.
In other words, one cannot be equal to three, because one is the third of the three. In the same way, one is not equal to a third. And vice versa, three are not equal to one.
Those who maintain the unity of God is the trinity of persons tell us that ‘each person is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and perfect God; yet there are not three omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and perfect god, but one omnipotent … God!
We all- Muslims and Christians- believe that God is Omnipresent, that He fills and encompasses every space and particle. Is it conceivable that all the three persons of the Deity at the same time and separately encompass the universe, or is it only one of them at the time? To say ‘the Deity does this' would be no answer at all. For Deity is not God, but the state of being god, and therefore a quality.
Despite all the attempts offered by Christian theologians in explaining the doctrine of Trinity, nothing more than some biblical proofs or analogies have been ever offered. Even the most prominent Christian theologians admit that Trinity is another name for mystery. Thus, on which basis do Christians expect non-Christians to believe it? Isn't this the God of Bible who says: “ Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”. 8
No doubt, the term Trinity is never mentioned any where in the Bible. Rather Prophet Jesus like other Prophets called for One God.
When Jesus (peace be on him) said: “… Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one God”. 9He included himself as a loyal subject of his Lord God.
When Jesus said: “I am ascending to my Father and your father, and to my God and your God' 10 he puts himself and people in the same category before God. Thus, if Jesus was the son of God, so were all those of his community.
But even a man of average intelligence will conclude from the above passage that he means he is ascending to God of all around him including himself, and by Father he either means Adam, as his father and their father, or God but not in a literal meaning, rather as an expression of kindness and mercy of Him. Whatever meaning, however, one suggests, it includes his community as well.
In the year … a debate took place between Imam Redha (peace be on him), the 8th Imam of Ahlul-bait, and Al-Jatheliq the Christian archbishop at the royal court of Ma'moon. A part of the debate reads:
- Imam Redha(a.s): “It is very unfortunate that your Jesus did not pray or fast?”
- Al-Jaetheliq: “This is not true. As a matter of fact, he was praying all nights and fasting all days”.
- Imam Redha(a.s): “Then, who was he praying to? Himself?! Does God pray and fast?!”
The author of Al-menar in his interpretation of the Quran, quotes the story of three new converts to Christianity. After having studied under a priest for a while, the teacher brought them to one of his Sunday services. The father then asked them to explain to the crowd the meaning of the blessed Trinity! The following is the answer offered by each one of them:
A: “Father taught us that there is a god in the heaven, and another one on earth and the third one came to the second in the shape of a pigeon.”
Father whilst being upset with his non-sense explanation, asked him to sit down.
B: “Well! I think the father taught us that there were three gods. One of them was crucified and hence we are left with two only.”
The father loosing his temper and hope in them, turned to the third student whom he trusted his intelligence and asked him to explain the Trinity.
C: “The blessed Trinity means: God the Father, and God the Son, and god the Holy Spirit are three in one substance. And God the Son was crucified which means all were crucified and we ended up with no god!”