Posted By Thomas Perez. June 14, 2011 at 8:53pm. Copyright 2011.
A Friends Response
Note: All citations from my friend are taken as is. Thus, the grammer was not corrected. I recorded it as it was said and written.
In ref to my friends response, the person said…
“It has nothing to do with eternality. In fact, most Muslims today believe that Jesus is still alive, and is still doing his prophetic missions and will return physically. I am also upholding this. On the issue of our different view on Jesus’ second coming, it’s a different matter. And furthermore, if you open the QS.2: 154 (TBI vol.5) You will see that if Jesus was really crossed/crucified (to discuss this topic more I see you have also a point on this) he was not dead. He is “eternal”…unquote
They also Quoted…Indeed, in Islamic irfan understanding, which is as same as in Genesis 1, as Islamic sources also refers to ahadith which most of them contain what the Bible said, the word “Be” itself is an act Kalamullah, and everyone who transmit/transmitted His words are Kalamullah (the Word of God) – e.g the Divine Guidance or the prophets. All men and even all beings has already been there, as in Word or in Kalamullah, only that historically their appearance/born limited to space and time (So on this point it has no conflict with the Bible verses you’ve mention after the QS). Therefore, more specifically in Shia belief, every Divine Guidance is holy and infallible whether in act, in word, and etc for whatever he/she did/does is truly a “manifestation” of Him, or reflection of His.
They also said Quote…I would like to quote Thomas McElwain’s view on this issue. In reference to Qur’an 4:157 The context of the Qur’anic verse is the boasting of a local group of Jews against Christians by saying “We killed your God.” The point of the text is to silence that boast and reduce the resulting tension between religious communities, and hopefully to reduce the underlying tension that caused the specific situation of the boasting. The text says that the Jews did not kill him or crucify him, but they only thought they did. There are several ways of understanding the text.
1) It may mean that the Jews of Jesus’ (as) time did so, and the particular
Jews who were making the boast had no part in it and therefore had no
reason to boast.
2) It may mean that the Romans were the ones responsible, and therefore the
Jews, being marginal, had no reason to boast about it.
3) It may mean that Jesus (as) though placed on the cross did not actually
die, but it only seemed to them that he did, when in fact he was taken down
alive and recovered.
4) It may mean that Jesus (as) was not placed on the cross at all, but
another person, who seemed to be Jesus (as), was crucified in his place.
Note that all four scenarios suffice to accomplish the intention of the text: Furthermore quoting “The situation has had the effect of introducing into Islam a quasi-requirement to take a stand of some sort on the matter of Jesus’ crucifixion, an issue which is completely irrelevant to Islamic belief and practice. Thus I sees this as one of the most blatant misuses of Scripture.”
QS 61:6. Actually it will be meaningless to debate on this issue when our starting point is different. But then I will still share about this. Quran 61:6 emphasized that Jesus uphold the Law of Moses (pbuh) and David (pbuh). Quran 61: 6 may refers to the Psalms 106: 24 “Va-yi-masu b’eretz hemda, lo he-emi-nu li-dvaro.” The word Hemda in Hebrew, is a cognate to Muhammad in Arab. Quran 61: 6 may also refers to the Song of Songs 5: 16 – chikov mamtakkim vechulov mahammaddim zeh dovdi vezeh rei benovt yerushalim. Well, of course, neither Jews nor Christians would not take this transliteration refers to Muhammad, and neither do the Muslims should take this when they rejected Bible as their source. But as I told you before, since I take the Four Books do not conflict with the Decalogue and they all has main important role, therefore I do not see this conflict with Bible. The understanding of Holy Spirit itself would be irrelevant here since it may refer to different understanding on both of us. Thus, for me, Jesus, Muhammad, as well as all divine guidance before and after them (pbu them) uphold and basically taught the fundamental & universal law which is found in Decalogue.
They said Quote…Those verses refers to Jesus on denying himself as biological son of God, which is logically not make sense, because if it is so, Adam is too, and as well as Eve. And even to Sara who was so old but she can have Isaac, and as well as Zachariah and Elizabeth. The miracles of Jesus born without a biological humanly father is to silence the boasting Jews etc, but when it comes to those verses Quran is again emphasizing this. The title of the Son of God is not biological, at least to me and many of us. The better frame is in Surah al-Ikhlas* Which – to my philosophical mind – can be means that God who is not other than The Real Existence is One (because the Real Existence is One, the Absolute Reality is One), existence is one and existence do not depend on anything. Existence is not from anything and not bring forth (giving birth) to anything. None is like Existence. Thus for me and many of us, there is no I but God – it’s not there is no God but I.
1 Proclaim alone He God is one.
2 God without need of anyone.
3 He is not born, He sires no son,
4 There is none like him, no, not one.
Furthermore, Kalamullah (the Word of God) mostly will always refers to Jesus as well as Ruhullah/Ruhul Qudus because the term Word made flesh is actually special to him as he was born very special, but it will also as well as to other prophets in term of their divine leadership…Unquote
They said Quote…So if I should take Jesus alone, it would not only be unfair to Muhammad, but also to Siddharta and Khrisna, to Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, because I believe they are also “divine” in the sense they are divine because they are the divine guidance, and they are true, and they are the sons and daughters of God…and as well as my ancient forebears who do not take any Semitic faiths too but they believed in the One though in their own words, God let me inherited from them that at least nine of the 10 points in Decalogue (except on Sabbath), and from Bible and Quran and from ahadith supporting them, Sabbath is not rejected as an important day for worshipping God…Unquote
They said Quote…My view of God will not be sufficient to explain the Absolute Reality, the real Existence. One must grasp by himself/herself. And if you find Jesus is your Way, I still have a great respect to you as a dear friend and as a human equal to everyone here…Unquote
It would appear to me that several admissions by yourself is a denial of His deity. Perhaps I’m reading you wrong – if so, then perhaps I quoted the Qur’an wrong? But I really don’t think I did, since it would appear that you just supported what I said prior. I think the culprit or crust of the matter is not to center on the eternality of His (Jesus) flesh, but of His deity – inner Being. The Gnostics had a similar belief, since they believed that all matter was evil, therefore Christ Jesus being flesh & thus matter could not have died because He is eternal. They made the error of separating the two (the Logos & the flesh).
Also, it would appear that you emphasize the Oneness of God, perhaps thinking I’m a Trinitarian. Perhaps the Trinitarian concept has confused the truth of Logos (Mind of God). As for myself I tend to disagree with the Trinitarian concept of God, in favor of the Oneness of God. Some may think me as a heretic for believing such, but I’ve studied the two views for over 30 years and have come to the conclusion that Modalistic Monarchianism is the proper stance (in this we have common ground) But in reference to Jesus’ deity, there seems to be discrepancies. Again, how do we justify Surah 3:81? That has not been addressed. Perhaps a brief background is in order as pertaining to the many interpretive views of Jesus Christ. The following is taken from a previous study conducted by myself. They are as follows:
The following is taken from a previous study conducted by myself
NOTE: This point of view is not to be confused with the teaching of Theophanies (the teaching that claims Jesus appeared in pre-Incarnate form on many instances in the Old Testament).
The power of the New Testament’s Christology lies in the fact that this Jesus who was uniquely “from God” was at the same time fully human, one of us. However, apart from affirming Jesus’ divine origins yet unqualified humanity, the New Testament Scriptures tell us little more, leaving room for considerable reflection. Jesus is Christ, Lord, Son of God. What do those things mean for us?
One early response was that Jesus may have been an angel from heaven. After all, the Son of Man is a celestial figure who comes on the clouds of heaven surrounded by angels. Perhaps Jesus was himself a powerful angel, or even an archangel. Traces of this christology can be found in a second-century Christian book named The Shepherd of Hermas. One passage, Sim. 8.3., virtually identifies Jesus with Michael the archangel.
However, this view did not leave a lasting impression on the church. Later theologians, like Justin (Trypho 59) and Tertullian (De carne Christi 14), were willing to use the term “angel” to describe Jesus in a descriptive way as one sent from God, but not as a way to describe his nature. For most Christians, this is not a sufficiently exalted way to think of Christ. Others find it satisfying. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, note the close association between Jesus’ return and the voice of the archangel in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. On this basis they too identify Jesus with Michael.
Another way to explain the divinity and humanity of Christ rests on the distinction between “flesh” and “spirit.” For example, the earliest surviving Christian sermon, an early second-century book known as 2 Clement, tells us that “we ought so to think of Jesus Christ, as of God, as of the Judge of quick and dead..If Christ the Lord who saved us, being first spirit, then became flesh, and so called us, in like manner also shall we in this flesh receive our reward” (1.1; 9.5). Similarly, The Shepherd of Hermas describes “the Holy Spirit that spake with you in the form of the Church…for that Spirit is the Son of God” (Sim. 9.1). This view is spelled out in more detail earlier in the book. As will be seen below, parts of this description seem to combine ideas that later would be identified as “binitarian” and “adoptionist.”
The holy, pre-existent Spirit, that created every creature, God made to dwell in flesh, which He chose. This flesh, accordingly, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, was nobly subject to that Spirit, walking religiously and chastely, in no respect defiling the Spirit; and accordingly, after living excellently and purely, and after labouring and co-operating with the Spirit, and having in everything acted vigorously and courageously along with the Holy Spirit, He assumed it as a partner with it. For this conduct of the flesh pleased Him, because it was not defiled on the earth while having the Holy Spirit. He took, therefore, as fellow-councillors His Son and the glorious angels, in order that this flesh, which had been subject to the body without a fault, might have some place of tabernacle, and that it might not appear that the reward [of its servitude had been lost], for the flesh that has been found without spot or defilement, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, [will receive a reward] (Sim. 6.5).
The view that Jesus first existed as a spirit or the Holy Spirit, then “became flesh,” was one way to think of his divine origin and his human existence. However, this way of thinking was not very technical and did not satisfy many Christians, who continued to ask questions about how Jesus could be both human and divine.
By the middle of the second century A.D., Christianity was under attack from all fronts. Christian doctrines had to be restated in Greek language that the educated philosopher or pagan could understand. Christian doctrines were thus, for the first time, systematically treated in a sophisticated way. The writers who accomplished this are called the Apologists.
The Apologists sought to explain the relationship between God and Christ by appealing to the imagery of the Word or Rational Principle, particularly as understood by the Stoic philosophers. With the Stoics, the Apologists distinguished between the immanent Word (logos endiathetos) and the expressed Word (logos prophorikos). With this distinction in mind, they could neatly differentiate between two stages in the existence of the Word: first as residing within God (immanent) and then as a distinct person who had been begotten (not created) by God (expressed). Theophilus of Antioch writes, for example, that “God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bowels, begat him, emitting him along with His own wisdom before all things” (Autol. 2.10) and also of “the Word that always exists, residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into being He had him as a counsellor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begat His Word, uttered, the first-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word, but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason (Autol. 2.22. Cf. Also Athenagoras, Supplic. 10).
These concepts afforded the Apologists a more precise way of conceiving Christ’s divinity. At this point the unformulated “spirit-flesh Christology” of an earlier stage began to give way to a more developed “Word-flesh” Christology. Justin Martyr seems to have believed that the Word took the place of the rational soul in the man Jesus (2 Apol. 10).
Justin was certainly the most prominent and influential Apologist and played a significant role in the articulation of Christological doctrine. He too began with the popular Stoic doctrine of the “germinal word.” He believed that the Word or Reason is what gave men knowledge of God. Even before the coming of Christ, men had seeds of that Reason within them; therefore, fragments of the truth could be reached by even pagans. The philosopher Socrates, Justin claimed, was a Christian (I Apology 46). He even went so far as to say that the Greek philosophers copied ideas from the books of Moses.
The Word of God was more fully revealed, however, in the person of Jesus. The mediatorial role of the Word was absolutely necessary in Justin’s philosophical theology as he believed, like the Middle Platonists of his day, that God was completely transcendent, beyond comprehension.
Justin advanced three arguments for the divine Word as a being distinct from the Father. First, while the Old Testament constantly described God as appearing to men such as Abraham, it was incredible that the “Master and Father of all things should have abandoned all supercelestial affairs and made Himself visible in a minute corner of the world”; therefore, “below the Creator of all things, there is Another Who is, and is called, God and Lord” (Trypho, 60.2, 56.4). Second, texts such as Genesis 1:26 (“Let us make man in our own image”) imply that God talked with a fellow being (62:2). Third, Justin compared the Word to the Wisdom figure, an agent of creation who was distinct from God (so it was understood). His description of the Word is well put in the Dialogue with Trypho:
God begat before all creatures a Beginning, [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos [Word]…. For He can be called by all these names, since He ministers to the Father’s will, and since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will; just as we see happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word [which remains] in us, when we give it out; and just as we see happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled (ch. 61).
The Apologist Melito significantly contributed to later Christological thought by conceiving the divine and human natures of Christ as operating independently of each other. Writing of Christ’s two natures, he was the first to use the philosophical term ousia, “nature” (Frag. 7). This term became more critical later on.
Throughout this period Christian writers were so occupied with thinking about the Son that they did not give much thought to the exact role of the Spirit, or to the interrelationships between the Father, Son, and Spirit, or if there were such interrelationships to begin with. To be sure, references to the three were common (cf. Matt. 28:10; Did. 7; 1 Clem. 46.6; 58.2; Ignatius, Eph. 9.1; Justin Martyr, 1 Apol. 13,65). Theophilus first used the word “trinity” (or possibly “triad”) when he wrote “of the trinity [triados], of God, and His Word, and His wisdom” (Autol. 2.15). However, the first Apologist to wrestle with the idea of a Trinity (not just a triad) was the UN-influential Athenagoras (Supplic. 10).
Many Christians during this time, however, were growing concerned about preserving traditional monotheism, the absolute oneness of God. The most prominent post – apostolic fathers were Hermas, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, and Ignatius. Their ministries spanned the time from about 90 AD to 140 AD. In the second and third centuries, these Christians were known as Monarchians because they wanted to defend the divine “monarchy” of the one God. The Oneness belief as demonstrated by the Monarchians was the dominant belief in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Today they are frequently called “Modalistic Monarchians” as distinct from “Dynamic Monarchians” (cf. below). The Modalistic Monarchians denied any division within God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but different “modes” of the one God’s operation.
Put differently, God is seen as filling certain roles, just as a man may be an employee, a husband, and a father, all at the same time. God is then one person, indivisible, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Another term for this is “Sabellianism,” named after the third-century teacher Sabellius. It is also known as “Patripassianism,” a term which implies that the Father suffered on the cross.
Modern-day modalists are found most frequently in Pentecostal groups, like the United Pentecostal Church International and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. They rely heavily on Isaiah 9:6, which calls the Messiah not only “Mighty God” but also “Everlasting Father,” and on John 10:30, in which Jesus said “I and the Father are one.”
All in all, the Monarchian belief and its school of thought has survived the test of time: From the post – apostolic fathers, during the 4th century, during the rise of the Roman Church, and onto the present, Monarchianism is a doctrine that is not to be ignored. Therefore, for Trinitarians to claim that this belief is heresy is far to dogmatic. Modalists can assert the same name calling of heresy to the Trinitarians when one studies the origins of the trinity as having possible roots to paganism, as revealed in many books and articles, such as the book entitled ’The Two Babylon’s’ by the late Rev. Alexander Hislop. The book expose’s the paganism of the Roman Catholic Church (The book can be found in its entirety at my website: BibleTruthSeekers.yolasite.com)
If the modalistic Monarchians sought to defend the absolute unity of God by denying any distinctions between the three Persons, the dynamic Monarchians sought to do it by heading in the opposite direction. Whereas the modalists described the three Persons as merely different “modes” of the one God, the dynamic Monarchians described the Father as wholly separate. Dynamic Monarchianism is also known as “adoptionism,” a term which properly designates the eighth-century Spanish doctrine that Christ’s human nature was “adopted” by the divine Word. The term is frequently used in a more broad sense, however, to describe any view of Christ which traces his Sonship to his resurrection, transfiguration, baptism, or birth.
Dynamic Monarchianism is generally traced to a man named Theodotus who taught in Rome late in the second century. The best known dynamic Monarchian is Paul of Samosata, the bishop of Antioch from 260 to 272. For Paul, the Word was not a Person but an attribute of God which indwelt the man Jesus. As the synod of Antioch in 268 put it, Paul was “unwilling to acknowledge that the Son of God has come down from heaven” (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., 7.30.11).
Photinus, the bishop of Sirmium in the mid-fourth century, also taught that the Word was not a Person. As Chrysostom put it, Photinus believed “that the Word is an energy, and that it was this energy that dwelt in Him who was of the seed of David, and not a personal substance” (Homily VI). According to Sozomen, Photinus “acknowledged that there was one God Almighty, by whose own word all things were created, but would not admit that the generation and existence of the Son was before all ages; on the contrary, he alleged that Christ derived His existence from Mary” (Eccl. Hist. 4.6).
To support the doctrine that Christ did not preexist his birth, the Photinians cited 1 Corinthians 15:45 to the effect that Christ was preceded by Adam. Scriptural texts which may seem to teach Christ’s heavenly origin, the Photinians explained, in reality refer to the heavenly origin of Christ’s teaching and power. They also cited Isaiah 44:6 in defense of their strict monotheism: “This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD almighty: I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God” (NIV).
This type of Monarchianism was reflected among the Spanish Bonosians through the seventh century and reappeared in sixteenth-century Poland among the Socinians. This view of Christ, along with the next view (Arianism), is known historically as the Unitarian view as opposed to the Trinitarian view. Modern-day dynamic Monarchians, who sometimes identify themselves as “Biblical Unitarians” (in contrast to liberal Unitarian Universalists), include some Adventist churches like the Church of God General Conference (Morrow, GA), as well as the Christadelphians, the Way International, and various ministries that have grown out of the Way, like Christian Educational Services in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The second- and third-century African theologian Tertullian took exception to this widespread doctrine. Like his predecessors, the Apologists, he drew arguments and language from the Bible, Judaism, Stoicism, and other sources, but he introduced anew source for discussing Christology: Latin legal terminology. Tertullian argued that though God is one substance [unitas substantiae], He exists in three distinct persons [personae]. He was also the first author to use the Latin term trinitas (trinity).
Tertullian’s book Against Praxeas contains his arguments against the modalistic Monarchians. He wrote, for example, that:
The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned,) who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world’s plurality of gods to the one only true God; not understanding that, although He is the one only God, He must yet be believed in with His own dispensation. The numerical order and distribution of the Trinity they assume to be a division of the Unity (Adv. Pra x. 3).
Tertullian was also the first Christian to deal specifically with the relation of the two natures in Christ. How, he asked, could the divine Word “become” flesh (Adv. Prax. 27)? Not, he asserted, by transforming himself into flesh, because then he would no longer be divine. Rather, he put on flesh; thus, the divine “substance” and the human “substance” both constitute the one “person” of Christ.
Like the Apologists, Tertullian posited a two-stage existence in the Word: First as immanent within the Father, then as expressed at the Son’s generation:
There are some who allege that even Genesis opens thus in Hebrew: “In the beginning God made for Himself a Son.” As there is no ground for this, I am led to other arguments derived from God’s own dispensation, in which He existed before the creation of the world, up to the generation of the Son. For before all things God was alone – being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was H e alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call logos, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word was in the beginning with God; although it would be more suita ble to regard Reason as the more ancient; because God had not Word from the beginning, but He had Reason even before the beginning; because also Word itself consists of Reason, which it thus proves to have been the prior existence as being its own substan ce…. He became also the Son of God, and was begotten when He proceeded forth from Him (from chs. 5,7).
For Tertullian, the Word became the Son of God when it was begotten of the Father prior to creation. The Son, though God by nature, thus occupies a subordinate role within the divine economy. Similarly, the Holy Spirit occupies a status of third rank:
Everything which proceeds from something else must needs be second to that from which it proceeds, without being on that account separated. Where, however, there is a second, there must be two; and where there is a third, there must be three. Now the Spirit indeed is third from God and the Son; just as the fruit of the tree is third from the root, or as the stream out of the river is third from the fountain, or as the apex of the ray is third from the sun. Nothing, however, is alien from that original source whence it derives its own properties. In like manner the Trinity, flowing down from the Father through intertwined and connected steps, does not at all disturb the Monarchy, whilst at the same time guards the state of the Economy (ch. 9).
As can be seen in this description of the divine economy, the Son and the Spirit are not divine in a static way but in a dynamic way; they proceed from the one substance as they have separate tasks to fulfill. They are three in order and distinction, but one in substance.
The Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from another in the mode of their being. For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as He Himself acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I” [John 14:28]. In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels” [Psa. 8:5]. Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten is another;…the Son is also distinct from the Father; so that He showed a third degree in the Paraclete, as we believe the second degree is in the Son, by reason of the order observed in the Economy (ch. 9).
Considering this language it is easy to see why this is frequently called “the economic Trinity.” Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome, other second- and third-century theologians, also thought about the Trinity in this way.
This changed significantly with the third-century Origen. Although Origen’s Trinity was also hierarchical, the Son and the Spirit being subordinate to the Father, Origen conceived of the Trinity as God’s eternal mode of being, not as an economy. In sharp contrast to the Apologists and Tertullian, Origen refused to postulate two stages in the existence of the Word. Rather, he held that the Word is eternally being generated by the Father (De princ. 1.2.2).
The idea of subordination within the Trinity has cropped up occasionally in the history of the Church. It surfaced again, for example, among early Arminians in Europe. However, most Christians are not satisfied with assigning the Son and the Spirit subordinate positions, and many evangelical scholars today prefer to talk about economic modes within the Trinity as only one aspect of the Trinity. The Son is described, for example, as voluntarily subordinating himself to the Father in the incarnation.
The economic Trinity of Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus may not have been considered fully adequate by the Trinitarian standards of the fourth century and later, but it was successful in creating an alternative to the popular modalistic Monarchianism. However, modalism was not the only Monarchian position in the early Church.
Named for Arius of Alexandria, the Arians taught that the Word was not eternal. Arius did not believe that the Son is God, but an intermediate divine being, both in creation and redemption. The debate broke out between Arius and his bishop Alexander early in the fourth century and became the subject of the first Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in A.D. 325, where Arius and his views were condemned. Athanasius, a deacon to Alexander, continued to oppose Arius and his views throughout the fourth century. Some of Arius’ teachings have been preserved in Athanasius’ polemical works. In the following passage, Athanasius cites several statements from Arius’ Thalia:
‘God was not always a Father;’ but ‘once God was alone, and not yet a Father, but afterwards He became a Father.’ ‘The Son was not always;’ for, whereas all things were made out of nothing, and all existing creatures and works were made, so the Word of God Himself was ‘made out of nothing,’ and ‘once He was not,’ and ‘He was not before His origination,’ but He as others ‘had an origin of creation.’ ‘For God,’ he says, ‘was alone, and the Word as yet was not, nor the Wisdom. Then, wishing to form us , thereupon He made a certain one, and named Him Word and Wisdom and Son, that He might form us by the means of Him’…Moreover he has dared to say, that “the Word is not the very God;'” “though He is called God, yet He is not very God,” but “by participation of grace, He, as others, is God only in name.” And, whereas all beings are foreign and different from God in essence, so too is ‘the Word alien and unlike in all things to the Father’s essence and propriety,’ but belongs to things originated and created, and is one of these (C. Ar. I.2.5,6).
For Arius, as for the Middle Platonists and the Apologists before him, the mediatorial activity of the subordinate Word helped to explain how a transcendent God could relate to the material creation. Arius’ innovation was to argue that the Word was created ex nihilo, “out of nothing.” And though he rejected Origen’s view of the eternal generation of the Son, Arius used other parts of Origen’s theology, particularly his subordinationism, in articulating his own position. For the Arians, the experiences attributed to Jesus in the Gospels – hunger, emotion, death – could not have been predicated of the Word had he been fully divine.
Arianism has been one of the most common forms of non-Trinitarianism in Church history. Its spread can be traced through Europe and into the Reformation period. It has claimed many distinguished adherents, including John Locke, John Milton, and many Unitarians, not to be confused with Universalists. Several, not all, but several Adventist groups today, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, hold to an Arian view of Christ.
(NOTE: In reference to the organization known as Seven Day Adventist, many adherents in different groups of Adventism uphold today the doctrine of the Trinity. Such information can be found in ‘Walter Martin’s’ updated editors edition, ‘Kingdom of the Cults’).
The controversy over Arius’ views prompted Emperor Constantine to arrange the first Ecumenical Council early in the fourth century. So in 325, over 300 bishops gathered at Nicaea to address the Arian issue and agree upon a creed.
As we have seen, Arius maintained that the Son was of a different (heteros) substance from the Father, but Athanasius maintained that the Son was of the same substance (homoousia). A compromise suggested by Eusebius of Caesarea, that the Son be considered “of similar substance” (homoiosia), was in the end rejected. The council’s final creed (which differs from the revised creed of 381) reads as follows:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance (ousias) of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousian) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion – all that say so, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.
It was on this foundation that Athanasius argued against every form of subordinationism. Later the Cappadocian Fathers extended the homoousia concept to the Holy Spirit, completing the doctrine. From this point on, the dominant viewpoint in the Church by far has been Athanasian Trinitarianism: One God existing in three distinct Persons, co-equal, co-eternal, co-substantial.
As spelled out in Athanasius’ book The Incarnation of the Word of God, the primary concern of Trinitarian doctrine is soteriological in nature: In order for humankind to be saved, God Himself had to become man and die on the cross. Only then, Athanasius taught, could the gap between God and humankind be bridged. For Trinitarians, the Son is the Word of God who was God (John 1:1) yet became flesh (1:14).
Conclusion to the Definitions
During the first four centuries of the Church’s history, Christians speculated, reasoned, argued, fought, and agonized over the doctrine of Christ. Although the Ecumenical Creeds formally recognized Athanasian Trinitarianism, each of the Christological options described above have persisted in the Church. And Christians today study and debate the doctrine of Christ just as zealously as our early counterparts.
Angel Christology, modalistic Monarchianism, Economic Trinitarianism, Dynamic Monarchianism, Arianism, and Athanasian Trinitarianism all attempt to grapple with the issue of what Jesus Christ means to us. Each position has merit, though some admittedly are more meaningful than others. While others are esoteric and agnostic in nature, like the ‘Shepherd of Hermas’. The important thing to realize is that none of these theologies in and of themselves constitute the totality of Christian faith, as some argue. Rather, they are each attempts to understand Jesus better. As such, each position contains some nugget of truth. The Jesus who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), who is “the First and the Last” (Rev 1:17), who sustains “all things by his powerful word” (Heb 1:3), cannot ultimately be reduced to a formula or a creed. He is more real than a theology. Whoever wishes to know Jesus must finally meet him at the foot of the cross, where Jesus can be recognized as the righteous Son of God who gives his life for the world (Mark 15:39; 10:45). This is all that God requires we understand (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2; 15:1-3). Beyond that, there is room for doctrinal diversity in our interpretations.
However, as a theologian, I see (at least according to my conscience) two views that are truthful indeed. Also, I see no real difference between the two views, that being Trinitarian or Modalistic Monarchian point of view. Instead I see a play of word renderings, and elaborate explanations of how to view certain claims in reference to understanding God and His nature. Though I prefer Monarchianism.
One school of thought interprets God as One in three Persons (Trinitarians). While the other school of thought views God as One who reveals Himself in different modes or roles (Monarchianism).
In ref to your statement on Jesus not being the biological Son of God runs contrary to the heart of II Tim 3:16 God was manifested in the flesh. This is the Mystery – the incarnation of God Himself (the Father) Who is now the Son giving Himself. Thus the expression For God Gave His only Son – not in the Trinitarian sense of the word but as the One True God. It also runs contrary to Revelation where Jesus declared Himself as the Almighty – Just put the verses together, it is not that difficult. Connect these verses (Rev 1:8, 11, 17-18 Jesus is called the Almighty, and Rev 22:12-13).
If Muhammad is concerned with keeping in line with the Decalogue, therefore he should have been concerned with what the NT said also since it was Jesus who said that Moses & the prophets spoke of Him – John 8:54-58 & Luke 24:44.
Here are some additional verses:
Psa 136:3 God is Lord
Rev 19:16, I Cor Jesus is Lord
Deut 6:4 God is One Lord
I Cor 8:6 Jesus is One Lord
Mal 2:10 God is called our Father
Isa 9:6 Jesus is called the Father
Psa 90:2 God is Eternal
Mic 5:2 Jesus is Eternal
Psa 74:12 God is of Old
Mic 5:2 Jesus is of Old
Psa 83:18 One Name (EL)
Pro 30:4, Acts 4:10, Phil 2:9-10 One Name (Jesus)
Isa 43:10-11, 44:8 Jehovah is the only God. No other God is formed after Him or ever will be
Isa 7:14, 9:6, Matt 1:23, John 1:1,14, 20: 24-29, Col 2:9, I Tim 3:16 – Jesus is God
Isa 43:11, 45:21-22, 60 :16 God is the only Saviour
Luke 2:11, Titus 2:13, 3:6, Jesus is the only Saviour
Isa 44:24, 45:8, 48:13, Mal 3 God is the only Creator
John 1:3, Col 1:16 Jesus is the Creator of everything
Isa 45:21 God is Just
Acts 7:52 Jesus is Just
Isa 45:5, 60:16 God is the only Redeemer
Gal 3:13, Rev 5:9 Jesus is the only Redeemer
Mal 3:6 God changes not
Heb 13:8 Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever
There are more, but I think you get the picture.
In Reference to Jesus’ death, according to what you have concluded is a quotation from Thomas McElwain. Although he may have been able to provide a possible escape clause for the cause of Islam in this particular instance, perhaps to further the Gospels message; howbeit unknowingly, but yet by subconscious; it does not negate the fact that the surrounding verses indicates a denial of His death. Of which his opinion is nothing new under the sun It would appear then according to McElwain that they may be several theories as to this verse (Koran 4:157-158). However, as you said “it suffices”.
Therefore, based on this, I’m only lead to the conclusion that you can not accept the article of Act 20:28 – where it is written that God purchased the Church with His own Blood. For the life is in the blood – Moses said that, or rather I should say God through him. I say this based on your belief, for it entails that God is eternal and cannot die. I may ask you a philosophical question – why can’t He? He created death & evil? Therefore He has the power to lift Himself up again:
Gal 1:1 The Father raised Jesus
John 2:18-22 Jesus raised Himself
Rom 8:11 The Holy Spirit raised Jesus
Rom 10:9 God raised Jesus
A concept of which McElwain believes is completely irrelevant to Islamic belief and practice. My question to that, or rather I should say my statement to that is I Cor 1:18. No judgmental intentions intended I assure you. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, there has been unanimous agreement amongst Islamic scholars in denying the crucifixion. Modern commentators such as M. Hayek interpret the verse to say that the crucifixion “seemed thus to them” (i.e. the Jews).
In ref to your statement that most Muslims believe that Jesus is alive, let me say that was not the issue I was raising, the stance is taken from the point of whether or not they believed that Jesus is the Father, revealed in the flesh, who had no beginning and no end -who is Alpha & Omega – who was once alive and dead But now lives! Apparently they seemed to have missed the first clauses.
In ref to your Quote…”So, Jesus as well as other prophets before him is fit to be an intercessor for his followers – This is at least my belief. So again it is not even conflicted the Bible you mention”….Unquote.
I’m afraid it is in conflict. When one looks at I Tim 2:5 & the entire Book of Hebrews. The intercessor is the One who speaks in His name, and His name only (John 16:13-14) Both schools of thought (Shi’ism and Sunnism) uphold this ideology of intercessors. Amongst Sufi and Barelwi Muslims within Sunni Islam as well as Twelver Shi’a Muslims, it refers to the act of supplicating to God through a prophet imam or Sufi- sanit whether dead or alive. Yet, I say onto thee why prayest thou to the Dead?? He is the God of the living not the dead.
In ref to your question pertaining to the Jews.
The Hadith (recordings of deeds and sayings attributed to Muhammad) use both the terms Banu Israil and Yahud in relation to Jews, the latter term becoming ever more frequent and appearing mostly in negative context. According to Norman Stillman
Jews in Medina are singled out as “men whose malice and enmity was aimed at the Apostle of God”. The Yahūd in this literature appear not only as malicious, but also deceitful, cowardly and totally lacking resolve. However, they have none of the demonic qualities attributed to them in mediaeval Christian literature, neither is there anything comparable to the overwhelming preoccupation with Jews and Judaism (except perhaps in the narratives on Muhammad’s encounters with Medinan Jewry) in Muslim traditional literature. Except for a few notable exceptions… the Jews in the Sira and the Maghazi are even heroic villains. Their ignominy stands in marked contrast to Muslim heroism, and in general, conforms to the Qura’nic image of “wretchedness and baseness stamped upon them
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).Sahih Muslim, 41:6985, see also Sahih Muslim, 41:6981, Sahih Muslim, 41:6982, Sahih Muslim, 41:6983, Sahih Muslim, 41:6984, Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:56:791,(Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:177)
It is important to note though, that many hadith have unverifiable sources – Reza Aslan, a noted Islamic scholar and commentator, claims that more than 700,000 hadith of dubious origin had emerged by the end of the 10th Century. Many hadith may also reflect the culture and perception of societies at the time.
In ref to your salvation – I had quoted the five pillars merely as a stance since it is by these that all within the Islamic community aspire to. The Qur’an presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. Shahadah is a saying professing monotheism and accepting Muhammad as His messenger. The shahadah is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: (ašhadu an) lā ilāha illá l-Lāhu (wa ashhadu ‘anna) Muḥammadan rasūlu l-Lāhi “(I profess that) there is no god except God and (I profess that) Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
Wouldn’t you say that this goes contray to the prophets of whom Muhammad is to confirm? For it is written in the prophets that God will send His messenger to testify of Jesus Mal 3:1 (in ref to John, the Baptist) – Matt 3:1-3. Who did John prepare the people for? Moreover, even John had his doubts when he asked “Are we to expect another”? The answer to that academic question is no. It was the Lord Himself, and since there is One Lord – the prophecy, by all accounts is pointing to Jesus. Contrary to the Psalms 106 verse you had cited; which when viewed in the light of the rest of the context has nothing to do with Muhammad. It is in ref to Moses.