Dogmas of Trinity in Divinity

Tathth

انطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَانطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ ظِلٍّ ذِي ثَلَاثِ شُعَبٍلَّا ظَلِيلٍ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِنَ اللَّهَبِإِنَّهَا تَرْمِي بِشَرَرٍ كَالْقَصْرِكَأَنَّهُ جِمَالَتٌ صُفْرٌ

“Now, move on towards that (punishments) which you cried lies to. Move on to the shadow that has three branches, (Which is) neither affording shade (to you) nor protects (you) from the flame. Rather it throws huge sparks as huge and high as towers; (Sparks) that look like tawny camels.” (77:29-33)

Trinity is a doctrine that defines God as three “divine Persons” in one.  Trinity is found in many varieties within Christianity, Hinduism, and other forms of paganism. In the Christian religion, the Trinity is supposedly composed of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is considered God incarnate. With the Hindus, there is Brahma, who, like the Christian God, is one God in three Persons: Brahma himself, Vishnu, and Shiva. Together, these make Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer (the Trimûrti of Hinduism). Brahma is the aspect of God that continually creates the universe and all within it, Vishnu is the aspect of God that is incarnate upon earth in order to save the world and sustain it, and Shiva is the destroyer of the old so that the new may arise. It is also notable that Vishnu is said to have been crucified to a tree, with arrows piercing his hands and feet (R. C. Majumdar, “Evolution of Religio-Philosophic Culture in India” in S. Radhakrishnan, The Cultural Heritage of India, 2nd ed., Vol. 4 [Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 1956], p. 47). In ancient Egypt there was the trinity of Ra/Re (Spirit), Path (Father), and Amun (Amen/hunter), and later there was the Trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus (John F. Nash, “Trinity and its Symbolism,” The Esoteric Quarterly, Summer 2005 p.33). Enlil, with “An” and “Enki”, form the supreme Mesopotamian triad of deities (Nötscher 1938: 382-387).

L. L. Paine recorded that the Christian doctrine of Trinity stemmed from pagan roots: He noted, “Among the more highly civilized Chaldeans, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians, triads of gods were a common and notable feature of their theologies.” Trinity was taught in the oldest Chaldean, Egyptian, and Mithratic schools. The Chaldean sun god, Mithra, was called “Triple”; the Trinitarian doctrine of the Chaldeans was inherited from the Akkadians, who themselves belonged to a race that was the first to conceive a metaphysical trinity (A Critical History of The Evolution of Trinitarianism and Its Outcome in the New Christology [Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1900], p. 4). Records of early Mesopotamian and Mediterranean civilizations document many varieties of polytheistic religion, though many scholars believe that the earliest man was monotheistic. Rev. Alexander Hislop devoted several chapters of his book The Two Babylons or the Papal Worship Proved to Be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife (1858) to show how this original belief in one God was replaced by the triads of paganism, which were eventually absorbed into Christian dogma. There is no question that ancient man believed in a “sole and omnipotent Deity who created all things” at one time, a belief that became corrupted at a later point into a belief in a multitude of gods.

Moses stressed the oneness of God: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Bible: Deuteronomy 6:4). Jesus repeated it when he said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Bible: Mark 12:29). Muhammad (pbuh) appeared approximately six hundred years later, bringing the same message again: “And your God is One God, there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship but He” (2:163).

The word Trinity is not to be found in the Bible, nor does the explicit doctrine of Trinity appear in the New Testament (Verlyn D. Verbrugge. ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000]). Lyman Abbott, in his Dictionary of Religious Knowledge: For Popular and Professional Use (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 1874/2010), stated that many historians believed that the Trinity “is a corruption borrowed from the heathen religions, and engrafted on the Christian faith.” Edward Gibbon, in his History of Christianity: Comprising All That Relates to the Progress of the Christian Religion in “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” (New York: Peter Eckler Publishing, 1891/1916, p. xvi), noted, “If paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by paganism.” The pure monotheism of the first Christians was corrupted by the Church of Rome into the incomprehensible dogma of the Trinity. Historian Will Durant observed: “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it.  From Egypt came the ideas of a Divine trinity” (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 3, Caesar and Christ [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1944], p. 595).

Greek philosophy had its own influence on the development of the Christian Trinity. According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge (Samuel Macaulay Jackson, ed. [New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1912]), the doctrines of the Logos and the Trinity received their philosophical aspect from Greek thinkers. Elements of Greek Platonism are unmistakably present in the Trinitarian definition of One God in “three Persons.” Many of the pagan tenets invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato were retained as being worthy of belief.  One recalls in particular the Neoplatonic views of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality that is triadically represented. Pagan gods were still the official gods of the state when the dissolute Roman government began to crumble. At that time, there was brutal persecution of the followers of nascent Christianity; to remain faithful to the belief of Jesus Christ meant hardship and ridicule. Christianity digressed from the concept of the Oneness of God into the vague and mysterious doctrine that was formulated during the fourth century CE.

Christians say Jesus is God (Bible: John 1:1, 14); they say the Father is God (Bible: Philippians 1:2); and they say the Holy Spirit is God (Bible: Acts 5:3–4). Since the Son speaks to the Father, they are separate persons (Bible: John 17). Since the Holy Spirit speaks also (Bible: Acts 13:2), it too is a separate entity. Still they maintain that there is only One God. The property of numbers is the property of a thing that displays that property. The “manyness” of a thing imposes that “manyness” upon it. How is it possible for a servant to serve the entity of “manyness,” with the All-Mighty Creator being one of them? Now, the existence of Jesus as being one of the three either must be existent not as God and not being part of it, or he must consist of the Being of God. Since there is no existence from eternity without beginning except that of the All-Mighty Creator, Jesus cannot be a God because of his beginning in some form, as a “Word” or as a child.

He who limits his Creator and gives it the form of a human body has made Him take on limits like himself. High indeed is the One and the Only God, the Creator. He is beyond any notion of judging Him by means of what He has created. He, not we, is the Judge Himself. The profession that the One God is the Present Reality (al-Wajûd al-Haqq), Who is Incomparable in His Essence, Who is One and Alone and Self-Sufficient, demands that there be no likeness (mumâthilat) between us and Him in any respect, because He is Self-Sufficient, and we depend for our existence on Him. No one depended on Jesus for his existence (Ibn al-‘Arabî, Fatûhât al-Makkîyya).

Now, if we say in this relationship of Trinity, two of them are not He, or that the other two are other than He, or that all of the three are He, these would be confusing, contradictory statements and would effectively negate His being Self-Sufficient, One and Alone and Independent. These lifeless words denote a deficiency of knowledge about the One Reality (al-Wajûd al-Haqq) and lack of speculative power. If they say that the son is not He, and then that the son has no existence, they have only relations, and the relationships of a Deity are non-existent. No matter which argument you are offered to accept, another stands opposed to it. The intellect will be incapable of reaching and understanding this kind of “knowledge.” You have to be blind or pretend to be blind to accept such a faith.

قُلْ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا ۚ

“Say, Do you worship beside Allâh that which has no power over doing you any harm or good (and they follow the fancies of the people who had gone astray before them)? ” (5:76).

 “You embrace some form carved with your own minds, saying He is this. He is not this (the Jesus on the cross), or that (the Holy Ghost). He is the Unique One. Your three idols prostrate before Him. Your every thought form perishes in His formlessness” (Mathnawî of Jalâl al-Dîn Rûmî).

لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلَاثَةٍ ۘ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَـٰهٍ إِلَّا إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُوا عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“Most certainly, they have disbelieved who say, Allâh is the third of the three. But in fact there is no other, cannot be and will never be one worthy of worship except One God. And if they refrain not from what they say, there shall certainly befall those who disbelieve from among them, a grievous punishment” (5:73).  

Thus, concept of Trinity in any form must categorically be rejected, and no interpretation (such as the three are actually one) is to be accepted. The Christian concept of Trinity cannot inspire us with love for the One and Only Truth and for humankind (though it can inspire some with a love for Jesus). No foot of the believers in Trinity reaches the firm foundation in the real Truth; no clear path to Him appears before them, as they see Him identical to a human being. This image of Christ stands between them and the real goal. Christians cannot distinguish God, Who is the Creator, from His creation. They say, “He is like this”; they say, concerning a form or a body, “He [the body] is like Him.” Christians identify Him through the forms that change and disappear.  Their people of knowledge try to separate him from Him, but they are unable to do so. In their sermons they try to make him identical with Him, but when that cannot be verified, they remain impotent in their belief, their understanding becomes weary, and their intellects bewildered. Their tongues speak of him and Him in contradictory expressions. At one time they say he and mean Him, at another, they say not He but he, and at still another time, they say He and he, not he but He. There is no issue in any theology more obscure and confusing than the beliefs in Trinity and the “sonship” of God.  

Human consciousness generates in a person hope and fear to an extent unknown in animals. This hope and fear in turn generate a desire in the human mind to seek a deity for help in dealing with the vicissitudes of life. Unless you allow your nascent mind to be guided by the One Who created the universe, these two passions, hope and fear, will make you forever bow before created things. In the words of the Persian mystic Hâfiz: “The tiny gods say, We are the sacred yearning in the unrequited soul; We are the blushing cheek of every star and planet. Dear ones! Beware of the tiny gods that the frightened men create to bring an anesthetic relief to their sad souls.”