Islam, the Trinity, Quran and the Bible:
A Dialogue with a Muslim
Note: this article is being revised by the author 6/16/2005
A Dialogue with a Muslim
by Vincent Arong
Vincent's words are in black, his Muslim friend's words are in blue.
In the Islamic view, what did God do from all eternity before He created?
Yes. The Christian concept of the Bible as guidance is close to the Islamic concept. But since we are to ponder on God, I was wondering if there was any discussion in Muslim thought about God's activity in eternity, apart from creation and time.
In time and creation, then, is God primarily seen as Master?
And we are creation. What are the relationships in the Islamic view that God holds with us humans, beside Creator and creatures?
Are there any other relationship models beside Creator/creature and Master/slave?
I see. The reason I ask is because I was wondering about God's identity, in the Islamic view, in eternity. God's activity and God's identity seem to be connected. Since in time, God creates, God is Creator. Since in time, God enslaves us, God is Master. In eternity, apart from creation, what does God do? In doing so, we can figure out who God is.
Ok. I guess from Islamic theology that isn't really explored yet.
Isn't it somewhat unfitting for God to be dependent on creatures and slaves to be known solely as Creator and Master, as if without creation and slaves he wouldn't be anything at all?
I guess what I'm asking is that if creation did not exist, what would God do and be?
Yes, from the Islamic standpoint, I think your right on that.
Actually, it has, implicitly. And that's the Christian understanding of what God is and does apart from creation in all eternity: God is a communion of Love between three Divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I guess I'm saying is that before time began (and in eternity) God is this Communion. It is only mentioned implicitly in the Bible with the Christian belief in the Son of God who is sent by his Father to send the Holy Spirit. It isn't mentioned explicitly however, and the "God as Communion" belief developed from meditating on the belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
That's why I was wondering if Islamic thought had meditated on Divine Revelation--the Quran, let's say--and come up with something similar.
The Christian understanding is that God is indeed One--in Being (what God is). The Christian understanding goes further, that God, in this Oneness of Being, is Triune in persons (who God is) --Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
No Jew did, as far as I know. It is a decidedly Christian revelation that builds on what the Jews already knew--that God is One. And the way I understand it, Jesus was the prophet that was sent to reveal this triune nature about God.
These previous prophets went out of their way because it is absolutely true: God is One and there is no other.
Progressive revelation, I suppose. From the Islamic perspective, were generations kept in darkness before the Quran was revealed?
From the Christian perspective, it is not that the generations were kept in darkness, but from the Old Testament to the New Testament, light grew brighter as the prophets were sent to reveal God's Truth.
I don't know if it's deprivation not to know the Trinity, anymore than the generations before Muhammad were deprived because they did not have the Quran. From what I understand you to be saying, generations before Muhammad and the Quran weren't deprived and kept in darkness even though they did not have the Quran.
Will God send another prophet if people walk away from the teachings of the Quran?
Does God say anything new in the Quran that wasn't revealed in the Bible?
I see. So the only new thing that is not in the Bible is that the Quran is muhmin and it protects the Bible?
From the Islamic perspective then, the Bible was corrupted by human additions. Could the Quran be corrupted by human additions one day as was the Bible?
That's interesting. I wonder why God did not protect the Bible from corruption as He did with the Quran...
Yes, the originals are all lost. All that Christians can have now are copies. Although I did read a bit on fragments of Matthew's Gospel that was dated to before A.D. 70. Still, it's just some bits of fragments.
I see. Apart from the Quran telling us that the original teachings were altered and lost, can we know that the original teachings were altered?
Yes, 1 John 5:7 is often a difficulty, and that's one of the weaknesses of Protestant Christian theology: it goes by the Bible alone, but the Bible we have now are copies that as you say, date hundreds of years after Jesus and the Apostles lived.
Catholic theology gets around this difficulty by relying on the Bible, as well as on Tradition and on what the Church has taught.
God bless you. Thank you for the conversation. I hope we can continue in the future. I really enjoyed learning about Islam from you.
For us and our salvation,
Copyright 2002 Vincent Arong
Back to Apologetics Articles
Back to Home Page
About | Apologetics | Philosophy | Spirituality | Books | Audio | Links