Gross Misunderstanding of Jesus and the Father existing as two Separate Beings - Part 2
When Jesus prayed to be saved from the cross, he said:
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
This shows that they had two separate wills, although Jesus submitted his will to the will of the Father. Two wills mean two separate individuals.
The only thing that the distinction in wills proves is a) that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons as Shabir rightly inferred, b) that the Father and the Son are not mere abstract forces but intelligent and conscious agents and c) that the Son is in perfect union with the Father and therefore always seeks to fulfill the latter's will.
Furthermore, seeing that the doctrine of the Trinity entails the belief that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons (i.e., "two separate individuals") we fail to see how this refutes our position. The only thing this proves is that Shabir again shows that he either misunderstands or misrepresents the doctrine of the Trinity.
Furthermore, Jesus is reported to have said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). If one of them forsook the other, then they must be two separate entities.
Again, if by "two separate entities" Shabir means that the Father and the Son are two distinct Persons, then we wholeheartedly agree with him. We do so on biblical grounds:
"'Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.' Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" John 6:27-29
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God'. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father." John 6:37-40, 44-46
"But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not ALONE. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of TWO MEN is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my OTHER witness is the Father, who sent me." John 8:16-18
"In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." John 16:26-28
Yet, if Shabir means that there are two separate essences or beings then Shabir is clearly wrong. See Part 1 for additional evidence.
Again, Jesus is reported to have said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). If the spirit of one can be placed into the hands of another, they must be two separate beings.
Shabir erroneously assumes that the Father and the Son are distinct Beings as opposed to distinct Persons. We have already shown that Trinitarians use the term Being to refer to God's nature and essence, the manner in which God exists. As such the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share the same Being, having the same nature and essence. The three Persons of the Godhead share the same divine life equally and are inter-dependent:
"Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me." John 6:57
"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." John 16:13
These passages demonstrate the inseparable unity, inter-dependency and coequality of the members of the Godhead. We must emphasize the point that the three Persons' inter-dependency does not affect God's self-sufficiency. Being the one true God, the three Persons are independent of everything and anything outside of their own Being and nature. Yet it is precisely because they exist as the one true God that the three Persons cannot function separately from the other members. To do so would mean that they are not one in Being, essence or nature, affirming Shabir's point.
Hence, we see Shabir wrongly assuming that the Father and the Son are two separate Beings as opposed to being two distinct Persons.
In all of these instances, Jesus is clearly subordinate to the Father. When Jesus knelt down and prayed he obviously was not praying to himself (see Luke 22:41). He was praying to his God.
Since Trinitarians do not believe that Jesus prayed to himself, but rather to the Father, we once again see how Shabir misrepresents the Trinitarian position. Furthermore, Shabir once more assumes that subordination in rank equates to inferiority of essence. This commits a categorical fallacy since Shabir fails to distinguish between a person's position with his nature. As we have already noted, the Father and the Son are equal in nature with the Son being subordinate in position.
Finally, if Shabir erroneously assumes that Jesus praying means that he cannot be God, then what does Shabir do with the fact that his God actually prays, and that he specifically prays upon his prophet?:
Allah and His angels pray for the Prophet (Arabic- yasalluuna alan-Nabiyy): O ye that believe pray for him (salluu `alayhi), and salute him with all respect. S. 33:56
Muslims claim that Allah is a singular entity, having no plurality of persons within his Being. Since prayer requires an object this means that Allah actually directs his prayers to another entity. As Shabir claims, it is obvious that Allah would not pray to himself.
Seemingly aware of this dilemma many translations obscure the meaning of the Arabic by inserting the word "blessing" in the place of "pray". Yet the term for blessing is derived from "baraka" which does not appear in the above citations. Rather, the phrases yusallii, yasalluuna and salluu appear, being derivatives of the word salah. Moiz Amjad of the Learner provides the lexical meaning of salah in response to a reader's question:
Ibn Al-Atheer in his highly acknowledged dictionary of the Arabic language, 'Al-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb al-Athar' has explained "Sala'h" as follows:
'Al-Sala'h' and 'Al-Salawaat': used for a particular kind of worship. Its literal origin is supplication (prayer). Sometimes, 'Sala'h' is referred to by mentioning any one or more of its parts. It is also said that the literal origin of the word is 'to glorify' and the particular worship is called 'Sala'h', because it entails the glorification of the Lord. (Source: http://understanding-islam.com/rb/mb-171.htm; bold emphasis ours)
Noted Muslim commentator, Ibn Kathir, defines the word as:
The Meaning of Salah
In the Arabic language, the basic meaning of Salah is supplication. In religious terminology, Salah is used to refer to the acts of bowing and prostration, the remaining specified acts associated with it, specified at certain times, with those known conditions, and the characteristics, and requirements that are well-known about it. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
Muslim scholar Al-Najjary comments on the meaning of S. 33:56:
The prayers of Allah are His praises for Muhammad among the angels, and the prayers of the angels are their prayers for Muhammad, and the [angels] praying is their blessings. The prayers of Allah are mercy, and the prayers of the angels is to ask forgiveness [for Muhammad]
Sahabi Ibn 'Abbas concurs:
"The tribe of Israel said to Moses: 'Does your God pray?' God called upon him and said: 'Yes, I do pray, and my angels [pray] upon my prophets', and Allah then sent down this verse: 'Allah and His angels pray...'" [quoted by Ibn Katheer on Surat Al-Ahzaab 33:56; Arabic online edition]
In fact, the very word salli is used elswhere in relation to Muhammad praying for others:
Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them (wa salli alayhim). Lo! thy prayer (salataka) is an assuagement for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower. S. 9:103 Pickthall
Some try to reason that the word salah doesn't necessarily mean to pray, but can also refer to God sending down blessings upon Muhammad. We have already seen above that the literal meaning of salah isn't to bless, but to pray and worship. As was also noted above, there is another Arabic word which could have been used (i.e., baraka) had the author of the Quran intended to convey the idea that Allah was blessing Muhammad, not praying for him. Note what the following Muslim scholar said about surah 33:56 and about those who try to make the word salah (prayer) synonymous with baraka (blessing):
Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the 'ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, "The coolness of my eye is in the prayer," as meaning Allah's prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah's command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.
It is said that "they pray" means they invoke blessing (baraka). However, when the Prophet taught people the prayer on himself, he made a distinction between the word salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 25; bold emphasis ours)
The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., p. 250; bold emphasis ours)
In light of the preceding factors perhaps Shabir can tell us whom Allah glorifies, worships or prays to when he prays for/upon his prophet? Since Shabir has already established the fact that an entity does not pray to himself this refutes the assertion that Allah addresses himself in prayer. We eagerly await Shabir's reply.
Throughout the New Testament, the Father alone is called God. In fact, the titles "Father" and "God" are used to designate one individual, not three, and never Jesus. This is also clear from the fact that Matthew substituted the title "Father" in the place of the title "God" in at least two places in his Gospel (compare Matthew 10:29 with Luke 12:6, and Matthew 12:50 with Mark 3:35). If Matthew is right in doing so, then the Father alone is God.
First, Shabir is wrong in stating that in the NT the Father alone is called God. It is true that the term "God" is often used of the Father but not always. The NT also calls both the Son and the Holy Spirit God:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
"Thomas said TO HIM, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" John 20:28-29
"Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit... You have not lied to men but to God.'" Acts 5:3-4
"Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." Romans 9:5
"awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ," Titus 2:13 RSV
"Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:" 2 Peter 1:1 RSV
Second, Shabir commits the fallacy of hasty generalization and non sequitur. He wrongly assumes that since Matthew substitutes "God" with "Father" this somehow proves that the Father alone is God. We have clearly demonstrated that "God" is used for both the Son and the Holy Spirit and therefore Shabir's logic does not lead to his above stated conclusion.
Finally, Shabir commits the fallacy of equivocation. He wrongly assumes that the titles "Father" and "God" refers to one individual. In so doing Shabir erroneously assumes that God and Father are interchangeable terms. Whereas "Father" does refer to a specific person distinct from both the Son and the Holy Spirit, this is not always the case with the title "God." As we have shown God is also applied to both the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Was Jesus the Father? No! Because Jesus said, "Do not call anyone on earth 'father', for you have one father, and he is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9). Since Jesus was standing on the earth when he said this, he is not the Father.
Do informed Trinitarians claim that Jesus is the Father? NO! Which means that Shabir really has no clue what Trinitarians believe. Or even worse, Shabir does know what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches but chooses to badly misrepresent it and attack a straw man.
The Qur'an seeks to bring people back to the true faith that was taught by Jesus, and by his true disciples who continued in his teaching. That teaching emphasized a continued commitment to the first commandment that Yahweh alone is God. Yahweh, the only true God, is called Father in the New Testament, and Allah in the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, Allah directs His servants to call readers of the Bible back to that true faith. God says:
"Say: 'O people of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partners unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for Lords beside Allah.'" (Qur'an 3:64).
First, the Quran might claim to be restoring the true faith taught by Jesus and his true followers, yet the fact is that it actually misrepresents and distorts the true message of the true God.
Second, since the message of Jesus and his apostles has been accurately preserved within the inspired pages of the NT there is nothing for the Quran to restore.
Third, since the heart of Trinitarian teaching is the belief that Yahweh alone is God we see Shabir again attacking only a straw man.
Fourth, even though it is true that Yahweh alone is the true God it is not true that the Father alone is Yahweh. The Holy Bible also teaches that along with the Father, both the Son and the Holy Spirit are the one true God Yahweh:
It is also not true that Yahweh God of the Holy Bible is the Allah of the Quran:
Let us break this down logically:
This concludes our rebuttal.
In the service of the one true eternal triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
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