Limitations on God


#1

A muslim I know says by defining what God is and isn’t that Catholics put limitations on God. Does this mean that in Islam they believe that God could exist in 3 personae if He wanted to? And could become in incarnate if He wanted to?


#2

Islam also defines who and what God is, which is why they don’t accept the Incarnation or the Trinity. He’s setting up a strawman whether he knows it or not.


#3

The only limitations God has are by nature (who he is) not power (what he could do). Ex. God is Truth so he cannot lie etc…


#4

Saint&Sinner’s got it exactly right here. Muslims don’t place limitations on God per se, we just argue that certain things (such as existing in three hypostasis) are against His nature.


#5

So Muslims think that the concept of the Trinity is against the nature of God. Well, that’s a better understanding than I had before. I believe that the Trinity is not against the very nature of God. I believe that there is one God in Three Divine Persons and that this revealed truth is ensential to understanding who God is in himself. As John Paul II put it:

“Let us therefore contemplate the Blessed Trinity, as revealed by Jesus Christ. God is a family of three Persons, a Father and a Son bound together in love so chaste that God is one in a third Person, the Holy Spirit. God is spirit and the three spiritual Persons are analogous to will, intellect, and love. The Father begets the Son as the will begets the intellect. A perfect Father is He who wills only good for His Son out of love for Him. A perfect Son is He who obeys His Father out of love for Him. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the love between the Father and Son, and is the Personification of their love, such that all three Persons are bound together as one God. It is a bond forged by giving.”

This is what we believe John meant when when He said:

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

I hope this is helpful. It is admittedly a hard concept but well worth understanding.


#6

Actually, Islam defines 99 “aspects” of Allah. If this is not defining God, then what is? I also find it amusing that these 99 aspects correspond to an almost similar number of pagan gods that were hosted at the Ka’aba in Mecca. It is equally ironic that it was Mo’s family that had charge of this shrine for some time (and some historians argue Mo dearly wanted that “title” back). The Ka’aba is currently one of Islam’s holiest shrines.


#7

I thought those were the “99 Names of God”…they are “chanted…prayed” using the 100 prayer beads…similar to the chockti, mala and rosary of other faiths.


#8

If you investigate (using the Qur’an, hadith and secular histories) you will find the “names” and “aspects” are used somewhat interchangeably (this may be a translational issue, I’d have to go back and do a check on that).

Regardless of whether we label them “names” or “aspects,” each has a defining charactreristic. Again, oddly, those characteristics match up rather well with the Ka’aba pantheon of paganistic dieties. Indeed, Allah was a moon god/goddess. There is a possibility this was a transplant from Yemen.

As to the chant, yes, I believe thta is an Islamic practice … the very ones who call Catholics to account for the Rosary.


#9

Similarly that “El” comes from the tribal Cannanite god?

Allah is Arabic, even Arabic Christians use the name “Allah”…is their God also descend form the moon god of antiquity?


#10

The current use of Allah by Arabic Christians is what, in language is called a linguistic variant. That is, the word “Allah” is associated in a different symbolic context than its meaning was to pagans and Mohammad in the 7th century.

For example, the word “gay” had a different meaning in 1890 than it does currently. I could go on, but hopefully you get the point.

The word origin was – most scholars believe – from El. The Caananites used it; there is some evidence it applies as well to Sumer and Ur as well.

This should not be surprising as all of these (Sumerian, Arabic and Hebrew) are of the Semetic language family.


#11

I guess my point was…Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians no more worship a “moon god” just because their proper name for the Most High God is “Allah” than do Jews or Christians worship a Caananite god because the names “Elohim” or “El Shaddai” root “El” has it’s roots in Sumer or Caanan pantheon of gods.


#12

Actually the Hebrew word is the Tetragrammaton YHWH (“I AM”), usually spelled Yahweh. El is the generic term “god” As YHWH was prohibited (by Talmudic scholars) from beig spoken except in specific temple use, the practice was to substitute Adonai (Lord). As an aside, through a merger of YHWH and Adonai, Jehovah is derived, though that did not occur until some time between the 6th and 10th century.

Elohim translates to Almighty One and was used sometimes in place of Adonai.

For the record, Jesus’ name was actually Yashua (God’s salvation), and His parents were Miryam and Yoceph.

Some good additional reading of YHWH:
yhwh.com/GINGN/gingn.htm


#13

As a postscript to the above: YHWH represents its own “trinity” – it speaks to past, present and future tense. That is, YHWH is eternal (I am, I was, and I will be).


#14

The doctrine of the Trinity does not place any limitations on God’s nature; as the Cappadocians argued, God’s nature is infinite, nameless, and beyond comprehension. The Trinity defines relations in the Godhead.

In Islamic theology, the 99 names are not different Gods (polytheism is an anathema to Muslims) but are attributes of God named in the Qu’ran, similar to the names given to God given in the Bible. This doesn’t mean the attributes attributed to God by both scriptures are the same, but when the Bible or the Qu’ran gave a name to God, theologians and doctors of the faiths of Abraham tried to work out how God, while being ineffable and transcendant, could be named and described. This brings in the question of the divine attributes vs the divine essence, and all three religions have interesting attempts to answer how God is one yet he can have different attributes which seem to perfectly reflect who God is, yet while remaining faithful to the idea that God must be One and have no multiplicity in terms of being.

To say Muslims worship 99 gods because Allah has 99 names or attributes is as foolish to say that Christians worship God as the God wisdom, the God Truth, the God righteousness, the God life, the God light, and so on. Muslims as do Christians understand the divine essence to be One, but to have different attributes or names revealed in holy scripture.


#15

Actually, Muslims very much so denounce the Trinity of Christianity. Which, given this subtopic on the 99 aspects of Allah is rather hypocritical of them.

A case can be made for the 99 aspects or facets of Allah reflecting pagan deities of the area at the time. Mo was trying to unite pagan tribes, after all. So, wrap up their personas as aspects of Allah and you reduce the objections and increase converts. Mo was illiterate, but he had plenty of street smarts.

This is borne out in secular histories of that era, as well as containing indirect references in the Qur’an and hadith.

But back to the main premise of this thread: neither faith “limits” God, both have wholly different views on the interaction between the divine and humans.


#16

I’d like to see some solid evidence for this. Muslims regard Allah as absolutely One, and the Koran itself asserts so very strongly in a number of Surahs, particularly Surah 113. Allah is not a conglomeration of pagan idols and they understand the divine names to be divine attributes, just as Christians and Jews do (in relation to their scripture).


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.