Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

Salam,

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him [Deut.18:18 NIV].

A considerate look at the overall context of this ‘prophecy’ reveals the erroneousness of both Muslims and Christians in their respective propositions. Muslims in general point to the prophetic mission of Muhammad[p] as the ideal referent, while, most Christians have always associated it with and viewed Christ[p] as fulfillment of yet another Old Testament prophecy.

In negation of my previous view, which was admittedly borne out of Muslim favoritism, I now suggest this passage concerns not a certain individual with particularity. Its immediate context, starting from v.9, points to the office of prophethood in general. Israel is admonished against turning to diviners and wizards who indulge abominable practices for supernatural commune and future foretelling [vv.9-14], hence receive assurance, out of personal request, of a continuous chain of prophets who, like Moses[p], would communicate unto them divine directives [v.15ff]. If the promise were pertaining a particular individual, the overall context would seem incoherent. The use of singular pronouns are actually collective singulars as in Isaian Servant songs [cf. v.22], and Deut.34:10 need not be seen as any hindrance either, since it magnifies Moses'[p] un-parallel dignity and status among Israelite prophets, whereas our passage merely concerns prophetic function [Ex.19:16-19].

Most crucially, this ‘prophecy’ could not be concerning Christ[p] since the very idea of a savior messiah was not yet formulated, coming to fore during the post-exile period. Jesus[p] himself never cited it in self-designation, remarkable considering Jesus[p] feels at home using, of frequency, his other messianic titles. Jn.1:45, 6:14, Act.3:22, 7:37 are confronted by Jn.1:19-21 and 7:40-41, and may well be described as devout zealousness. Neither does the Quran make any claim thereto, despite stressing the Prophet[p] being mentioned by name in the Bible. Q.73:15-17 merely stresses similar outcome of Meccan disbelievers as that of Pharaoh’s legions afore. Deut.17:15, which arguably shows the passage concerns Israelites alone, is enough in miscarrying the Muslim misconception.

Moreover, this ‘prophecy’ is no prophecy, rather, annunciation of God’s future scheme regarding the station of prophethood within Israel in compliance with her wish [Ex.20:18-21]. It is well-known that before Moses[p], prophets were appointed few and far between. The declaration concerns commencement of an un-broken succession of prophets among Israelites after Moses[p] [Q.2:87]. Hence, no particular individual is alluded here. The best inference one could achieve is an implicit one; that, since prophethood is the subject-matter and Jesus[p] is one of, if not the greatest, prophet in Israelite religious history, he more than anyone is here referenced. Yet any such deduction is naturally secondary and un-told in the text’s primary intent.

Regards.

An Islamized exposition of the Transfiguration narrative.

transfiguration

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In God’s Holy Name we begin Who’s Mercy over-shadows all forever, Amen!

Invent not similitudes for God: for God knoweth, and ye know not [Al-Qur’an, 16:74]

O Lord!, there is none like You, neither is there any God beside You, according to all that we have heard with our ears! [I Chronicles 17:20]

Christian Trinitarians often use analogies to demonstrate that the Trinity doctrine isn’t after all as en-explainable as people think. As a matter of fact, these analogies do go some distance in explaining or at least make easier to comprehend the concept of Trinity. By far the best of these analogies is one consisting of ice, water and vapor. But at best, this along with other sister analogies can do nothing more than help explain an idea, these by no means provide sufficient reason to accept the idea as truth. Even if we were to grant every analogy Trinitarians brought forward as perfectly applicable in illustrating the Trinity concept, yet all these analogies would not make the Trinity any more intelligible, and would only add as much tenability to it as analogies wrought by Pantheists and Polytheists in self-fancy. Hereunder, I present a few of those.

A well-known analogy Pantheists utilize is that of a tree. The example goes that see God is like a seed and the creation a tree with it’s stem, roots, branches and leaves. Initially, only the seed was present, and the entire huge tree was hidden in the small seed. When the plant grew into a massive tree, the seed disappeared. The seed is now manifest in this huge tree and does not have an existence outside of it. Another analogy Pantheists use is that of ice which melts into water, so also, God it was that formed into the macrocosm. Similarly, there’s the analogy of a rainbow consisting of seven colors yet being one rainbow. Though these analogies might not prove anything, they still are perfectly applicable similitudes from nature. Polytheists have likewise conjured multiple analogies in ‘justification’ for their creed. In one of these they represent God as the King who is in-approachable except through mediation of ministers and viziers. The point being that if analogies were of any aid in vindicating notions like the Trinity: these groups mentioned  would be more entitled to believe what they believe. And I could come up with analogies of my own to show God isn’t in fact a Triune God, but rather comprises of a single person. Consider that man consists of a single mind, I don’t recall anyone inherited with a dualistic or multiple minds. And we also know that man reflects the nature of God in whose image he is made. It follows analogically that God too must consist of a single mind. Though I would never use this as an argument for God’s uni-personality, simply because we as humans have no right to attempt explaining something which transcends our comprehension: for only if God Himself choose to Reveal His glory can we know of any certainty about His nature and will; No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things [Al-Qur’an, 6:103].

The concept of Trinity, on the other hand, raises more questions concerning God than it solves. What analogies fail to illustrate is the un-solvable contradiction that how could two opposite natures, nature of God and that of man, become wholesomely united without one tripping the other along the line? And if we are so lenient toward hypostatic marriages then why not also celebrate other triadic unities like those consisting of Osiris-Isis-Horus of the Egyptians, or the Hindu Trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Siva? Wouldn’t the same analogies be equally applicable to these Trinities as well? Barring a presupposed reading of the text, God breathed Scripture does not purport the Trinity concept, on the contrary, and I say this with utmost caution; Scripture in fact deems it abhorrible. ‘God is not a man’ it vehemently cries out at the tongues of prophets, whereas the Trinity notion represents a deviation from this prophetic tradition, a tradition Jews and Muslims hold to date and in light of which we ask: how could Jesus[p], being fully man, even claim Divinity? Especially when in accordance to Jewish Scriptures, if man were to make such a claim, he’d be prove an impostor worthy of death [See: John, 10:30:38]. Consider when a Jewish scribe inquired of Jesus[p] the noblest of all commandments, he repeated the Jewish Shema: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one…’ “You are right, Teacher” the scribe conformed:  “You have truly said that ‘He is One, and there is no other but He…” Jesus[p] acknowledged the Jewish scribe as a person of wisdom giving him glad-tidings of a heavenly mansion. I believe the Jewish scribe worshiped a uni-personal God and could not have had a Triune (three in one) Godhead in mind, whence I feel entitled to accept the Trinity doctrine as constituting an un-wise proposition and profess faith in the same Jewish Shema. The disciples of Jesus[p] were also seemingly un-conscious of any higher Christology. Peter denies, Thomas doubts, and Judas betrays him. If in his three year ministry Jesus[p] had actually preached the Trinity, as fellow Christian suggest, then such behavior from immediate disciples of Jesus[p] is quite un-foreseeable.

Now what I’m concerned about is my salvation, I wanna know exactly how am I saved?  Prophet Moses[p], Jesus[p], Muhammad[p], in fact all prophets of God came essentially to answer this very question and they did so in most un-complicate terms, to quote Christ Jesus[p]; Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” [John, 17:3]. Here, Jesus[p] links eternal life (Paradise) to two basic tenets. Knowing implies acknowledging the One God as uniquely deserving glorification and worship, and knowing Christ[p] necessitates living by God’s will manifested in His commandments as propounded by God’s dispatched agents (Messengers). Now as a believer in Christ[p] reading into the text without any pre-inclination towards the Trinity concept, what possible meaning could I deduce from his saying ‘τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν’ or ‘the only true God’ especially in light of what follows ‘καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας ἰησοῦν χριστόν’ ‘and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’? Am I being directed to believe in a deity made up of three distinct components or a solitary entity un-like the whole creation including Jesus[p]? The answer holds the key towards perpetual bliss or eternal damnation. The Prophet Muhammad[p] was once asked by some Christian priests to describe the substance by which God was made of, to which he replied: “My Lord is not made from any substance. He is unique and exalted above everything.” The Glorious Qur’an states: …Nought is there analogous with God… [Al-Qur’an, 42:11] Monotheism is actually separating God from His creation. When we say God is ‘one’ we negate, except perhaps in allegory, likening God’s holy essence and perfect attributes to those deficiencies that accompany the Creation and when speaking of God as ‘one’ we don’t just imply a numeric unity wherein pluralities can exist, as ‘one nation’ or ‘one family’, what is really communicated by God’s oneness is His absolute uniqueness inasmuch as nothing from the creation is comparable with God, He is exceptionally One without equal or similitude, a message the Holy Bible reiterates repetitively: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me [Isaiah, 46:9]. And for God to be un-like the creation He must be imbued with characteristics that run contrary to it, attributes like Eternity, Self-Subsistence, Immortality, Omniscience, Omnipotence; He must be the Creator, Sustainer, Providence to the creation and it’s sole Administrator besought in times of ordeal. However much is known regarding Jesus[p] from Scripture and history denies him share in any of these qualities, I would go to the extent of saying that our four Gospels serve as proof-text to that effect. So God is necessarily in-dependent of all want, whereas the creation, all that exists other than He, is essentially reliant upon God for subsistence: My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty Rock, my refuge [Psalms, 62:7].

As for Jesus[p] being ‘Son of God’ then words like ‘Father’, ‘Son’ can only be related to God in allegory, they have no real meaning especially if you consider Jesus[p] co-eternal with the Almighty. But if we insist on implying an actual relationship then naturally the Son must also be prone to re-production and we’d be up against a whole species of gods, as they say apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Moreover, if Jesus[p] be considered God’s actual (begotten) son it would clearly hamper God’s perfect uniqueness inasmuch now, instead of one, we have two distinct personalities, two with identical qualities; two entities besought and two deities worshiped. A father and son can be one essentially, but never in identity. I’m of the same genes as my father but an altogether different individual in that my qualities, at times, are in-dependant, different, and occasionally contrary to my father. The Qur’an rightly states that: If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both! but glory to Allaah, the Lord of the Throne:  (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! [Al-Qur’an, 21:22]. One may insist on worshiping the One God but when you have three distinct entities comprising of the same Divine attributes inherent in God; it makes for three distinct and diverse deities, the Oneness is clearly blurred.

CONCLUSION

These are but some reasons why I’m not inclined to believe in the Trinity doctrine any time soon over the Judaeo-Islamic uni-personal Godhead and feel that Christianity’s additional persons in Godhead are rather un-necessary and un-warranted. Though Christians do still attest to believing in One God, for which we can appreciate them, still; those extra persons stand as a deviation from centuries long prophetic tradition and subsequently, air confusion in the minds of truth seekers, aiding only toward doubt and disbelief. It is of vital importance that we come to unanimity on this fundamental concept, because if we can’t arrive at common terms on God; there basically remains very little to agree upon. Herein I’ve given my personal opinion and everyone is entitled to believe what they feel is believe-worthy, but take a moment to reflect upon the Trinity doctrine and if you are really a truth seeker, as all ought be; then you, like me, would find little room for a doctrine so remote from reason and strayed from Scripture. After all, its not because water exists in three different states that Christians believe the Trinity, its because you think the idea is firmly rooted in God revealed Scriptures wherein true guidance lays. But the late great New Testament scholar, William Barclay, suggests otherwise: “No where does the New Testament identify Jesus with God” [A Spiritual Autobiography]. And if the NT is empty of any positive admission of Christ’s[p] Divinity then what has one to say regarding the Old Testament? Yes there is mystery to God but when mystery partners in-consistency, it no longer remains thus. I do hope my words haven’t been of any offense, and I apologize if they be, but I, as a guy who believes in Christ Jesus[p] as God’s final Messenger to Israel, one born of a virgin named Mary[p] and a sinless son (servant) who lived perfectly by God’s will; find it disturbing when our Christian brethren step beyond Biblical bounds into conjuring out a mythically marvelous character whom Jesus[p] never played.

I thank you for a patient reading, Shalom!

They conceal truth by saying that “God is Christ son of Mary”, whereas Christ (himself) would say: “O Children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” [Al-Qur’an, 5:72]

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Notes;

The abbreviation [p] is a mini prayer: God’s finest mercy be showered on him.

A broader discussion on What ‘Son of God’ Really Means is also read-worthy.

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Islam is the hottest and most talked about religion in the world today, but, un-fortunately, it is also the most misunderstood religion. So too is it’s Prophet, Muhammadﷺ. The extent to which Muhammadﷺ is misunderstood and how little is known of the great man can be visualized by the observation that Muhammadﷺ, attributed to have founded the religion of Islam, never actually claimed, in fact denied it’s innovation and only proclaimed to have been the last in a noble line of Prophets dating back to their fore-father, Prophet Abraham[p]. What follows are views from people who’ve tried earnestly to know the Prophet[p] and after having grasped, to relative degree, a proper cognizance; intellectuals and orientalists alike are submissive to ask: Has a man greater than heﷺ ever arisen?

Herein we have aim to elucidate with simplicity and clarity the ‘true’ meaning of the ever controversial and contentious term ‘Son of God’. Christian brothers and sisters are advised to read thoroughly and express their esteemed opinion or dissent (if any) on what is an honest attempt to find the real Jesus[p].

We’re all familiar with the Biblical version, here we present slightly varying Qur’anic reflection of the famous ‘Ten Commandments’.