How do you explain the Trinity and why Jesus is both Man and God to a Muslim?


#1

A while ago I was doing my Nursing duties for school in a hospital. My groupmates were on break and had nothing to do and started talking about religion. You see, some of the people there believed that the Gospel of Judas was true because of the book by Dan Brown.

We started debating on the veracity of that that book, when a Muslim groupmate who was listening to our debates, asked me, "Why do Christians believe that God is a man with a beard and flesh and blood. Isn’t God spirit?

I started explaining about the Trinity—but apparently, he cannot get the concept that we believe Trinity in faith because Jesus said that “He and the Father are One.” He also cannot get the idea that God can make himself Man.

Is there a better way to explain to Muslims our belief in the Trinity and why we believe Jesus was both Man and God at the same time? He also asked why Christians have so many denominations–Iglesia ni Kristo, Protestants, Catholics, etc.

Tommorow, we have another duty together, can you help me explain these Catholic beliefs to someone who is not even Christian.


#2

Hi
The difference is in the attributes or characteristics; the attributes of God are different from the attributes of man, so they cannot be one.
Thanks


#3

Ma Eugenia,

Islam’s conception of God is well known, and represents a kind of via media between the Greek and the Jewish notions: “There is no God but God; and Mohammed is his prophet.” So, too, Christ Jesus was his prophet, and indeed many another, since the Qur’an proclaims, “there is no nation but has had its warner.” Nevertheless, the greatest of the prophets and apostles, such as Moses, Christ, and Mohammed, are mere mortals, and the same gates of spiritual advancement that were open to them are open to all mankind. They are “warners,” admonishers, voices calling men always to the contemplation of the sublime unity of the Godhead. In no sense are these prophets intermediaries between Gos and his creatures: there are no intermediaries. However proficient in sanctity these “warners” may be, at best they are guides. They do not even reflect the light of divinity, for just as the sun in the heavens is the sole source of light to this planet, so God in his isolation is the sole source of light to the spiritual worls . . . This is indeed a beautiful and arresting piece of imagery, but it must be confessed that the concept of a deity which it sets forth is so dazzling that we are intellectually blinded by it. It is like looking at the sun with the naked eye: we are so dazed by its brilliance that we learn nothing about it.

The plain fact is that Mohammedanism, equally with paganism, though in a different way, failed to realise the true nature of God, failed to understand that he is the God of life and love, of that life which is supremely active, and of that love which is infinitely diffusive. He is not a god who dwells like a lone star apart, but the God whose pulsating life and illimitable love find expression in the gracious condenscension of his self-revelation. It is to one’s intimate friends that one reveals the secrets of one’s inner life, and consequently it is in the New Testament, with the coming of the Eternal Son of God in the flesh for the love of man, that the veil is drawn aside from the majesty and mystery of the divine life, so that we may catch some glimpse of it as it is in itself, and not merely as it was known hitherto in its outward and visible manifestations.

continued


#4

From revelation it is obvious that the divine life in itself is not solitary either in the Aristotelian or the Mohammedan sense. As we have seen, we have been given many inklings of this basic truth in the Old Tetsament, especially in those passages wherein Wisdom is personified and speaks in accents which are unmistakably divine, as, for instance, in the following: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived . . . " (Proverbs 8:22)


#5

I don’t know the reason, but for some reasons many muslims seem incapable of making the distinction between person and nature. Christians believe that there is only one God (i.e. one divine nature, which is possessed by three persons.)

And yes God is spirit, not matter. So when discussing Jesus as man a further distinction must be made to explain that Jesus is one person (2nd person of the trinity possessing the one divine nature) who took upon himself a human nature, and thus is one person with two natures.

A good reference in this regard is Frank Sheed’s book Theology for Beginners.


#6

It is difficult to explain the Trinity because it is trying explain God Who is beyond our comprehension. We can never fully understand God because He is infinite. All we can understand is what God has revealed to us about Himself and that is Trinity.

The Bible shows the Trinity in many places. It shows that Jesus is God. It shows the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible tells us that God is One. It also shows us that there are 3 persons. So the only conclusion is one God in three Persons. I could cite Scriptural passages in support of all of this but don’t have ready access to them at this moment.


#7

Hi paarsurrey,

I believe Christians and Muslims have a different understanding on what God is capable of.

I thank you for clarifying to me the Muslim perspective on this.

God bless!

:slight_smile:

[quote=**Tomster
[/quote]

]…the concept of a deity which it sets forth is so dazzling that we are intellectually blinded by it. It is like looking at the sun with the naked eye: we are so dazed by its brilliance that we learn nothing about it…

**The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived . . . " (Proverbs 8:22) **

My dad told me to read the Gospel of John 1:1.

En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos,
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God” (John 1:1).

I think if I read this passage from John together with the Proverbs passage you mentioned, it helps me understand that God, being All-Knowing and All-Powerful is can do anything…such as His Thought and Word that was present even before anything else existed can be manifested in human form, through Jesus.

Is the reason why we call Jesus, the “Word made Flesh”?

I agree that the concept of “God made Man” is hard to understand—but it helps to know that God is able to do many things beyond our comprehension, as you say, “we are so dazed by its brilliance that we learn nothing about it”.

It is humbiling to realize that God who is All-Good, All-Knowing, All-Powerful is also All-Loving and that He choose to give Himself as the “perfect sacrifice” for the salvation of mankind.

[quote=**JimG
[/quote]

]And yes God is spirit, not matter. So when discussing Jesus as man a further distinction must be made to explain that Jesus is one person (2nd person of the trinity possessing the one divine nature) who took upon himself a human nature, and thus is one person with two natures.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are Three Persons from One Divine Nature.

This is indeed hard to understand for a non-Christian and hard to explain by a Christian to a non-Christian.

In my understanding, I suppose, it is like I am daughter, at the same time a friend and at the same time a student…and all of these things are ME —of course this explanation of mine is nothing close to describing majesty and beauty of what the Trinity is.

God, being all All-Powerful can manifest Himself in Three Persons while having only One Divine Nature.

[quote=**SyCarl
[/quote]

]It is difficult to explain the Trinity because it is trying explain God Who is beyond our comprehension. We can never fully understand God because He is infinite. All we can understand is what God has revealed to us about Himself and that is Trinity.

The Bible shows the Trinity in many places. It shows that Jesus is God. It shows the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible tells us that God is One. It also shows us that there are 3 persons. So the only conclusion is one God in three Persons. I could cite Scriptural passages in support of all of this but don’t have ready access to them at this moment.

It is hard to understand the Trinity, for a non-Christian (and for that matter, also for a non-serious Christian) because it requires faith and the belief that God can do anything He Wishes–including manifesting Himself as Man for the salvation of the world.

The way I see it, Jesus, is the the manifestation of God that shows how much we are loved by our All-Loving God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16


#8

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