Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Deification of Jesus : Its Evolution I - No Basis for "Trinity"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi attempts to convince us that there is no such thing as the Trinity. First, he we tell us that the term does not appear in the Bible, which is true. Then he will claim that the Old Testament has no proof of the concept of the triune nature of God (which it actually does), and conclude by attempting to reinterpret the New Testament proof of the Trinity.

Host: Define and explain the term Trinity.

Jamal Badawi: Encyclopedia Britannica : Trinity is the doctrine that upholds that God is one in essence, that he is three in person and the three persons are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Host: Is there any basis for the Trinity in the Old Testament?

Jamal Badawi: According to Bible scholars, No.

Some scholars make this claim, however, this is not the opinion of many Bible scholars.

The Encyclopedia of Religion says that the Old Testament could hardly be expected to furnish the doctrine of the Trinity. In spite of the experts, some still try to find evidence of the doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament and they commit obvious errors. For example, in Genesis 1, God is referred to as Elohim, it denote plurality, or let us create man in our image. This can hardly be used to support the Trinity. First, it is well known that in many languages, we is used by the King.

In an earlier segment, Dr. Badawi became very upset when Christians attempted to interpret the Qur'an using English vocabulary, yet he commits an even worse logical fallacy by attempting to draw conclusions from modern English (and classical Arabic) concerning the grammatical features of 1200 BC Biblical Hebrew. There is no plural of respect in Biblical Hebrew. This is admitted even by the Jewish rabbis. Maybe it exists in the Qur'an but this is irrelevant for the Hebrew Scriptures.

Second, plurality is not the same as Trinity, it could be any number.

A very bad argument! The Bible clearly refers to the triune nature of God and not "any number".

Third, there are other Hebrew words in the Bible were the plural is used to refer to the singular. We can conclude that there is no evidence for the Trinity in the Old Testament, in fact it is contrary.

I am not entirely sure what Badawi is saying here, however, we need to examine some passages that he gives us to test his knowledge of Hebrew.

Host: Could you elaborate on how it is contrary?

Jamal Badawi: The Old Testament is full of references to the oneness of God. Deuteronomy 6:4:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Dr. Badawi, once again, copies the bad arguments of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unitarians. There are two words for 'one' in Biblical Hebrew: 'ehad' (which means composite unity, that is one that is made up of parts) and ‘yahidh' (which means unique or the only one of its kind). This verse does not show the numerical unity of God, but actually proves the opposite!

In order to support Dr. Badawi's claims concerning this passage, the Bible must use the term ‘yahidh', however, this passages uses the term ‘ehad' which means plurality. We can also see the term‘ehad' used elsewhere in the Bible in this context:

Genesis 2:24 : the man and his wife will be one (ehad) flesh (a composite unity)

2 Samuel 2:25 : many soldiers made themselves into 'one group' (ehad)

Genesis 34:16 : the men of Shechem suggest intermarriage with Jacob's children in order to become 'one (ehad) people'.

It doesn't say three. In the RSV it says that other versions say that the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. In Deuteronomy 4:39:

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew terms for God in this passage is 'elohiym', which are plural!

Again there are no three persons. In Isaiah 44:6:

"This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

The idea of another eternal being is contrary to what Isaiah is saying. No God was formed before me or after me according to Isaiah 35:18. These are only examples, there are dozens affirming oneness.

Once again, the plural terms for God 'elohiym' is used in this verse and the "dozens" of others, indicating the plurality of God.

Host: Is it fair to see that the idea of the Trinity is based entirely on the New Testament?

Jamal Badawi: There is no basis for the Trinity, the doctrine evolved over time. I refer to Encyclopedia Britannica : neither the word Trinity appears in the Bible. Encyclopedia of Religion: In the New Testament, we do not find the doctrine of the Trinity. Biblical scholars do not claim that the Trinity is based on the Old or New Testaments. Many make serious attempts to find some evidence in the New Testament but their human interpretation imposes what is there. In matter of belief, it should not be left to human fallibility.

The term Trinity is not in the New Testament. However, it is absolutely false that there is no evidence of the Trinity in the Bible. Badawi is simply repeating false statements in the hope that, after our brains are numb from his repetition, we accept them as truth.

The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, teaches the Triune Nature of God. The one true God, was well established in the Old Testament (Isaiah 43:10 and Deuteronomy 6:4), and is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is called "God" in the Bible. The Father is God (Galatians 1:1 and Titus 1:4); the Son (or Word), is repeatedly called God (John 1:1,14, Acts 20:28, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, and Hebrews 1:8); and the Holy Spirit is identified as God in various Scriptures (Acts 5:3-4, 1 John 4:2,3, and Hebrews 10:15,16). The concept of the unity within the Trinity is seen in Matthew 28:19, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comprise one "name" because the term is singular in Greek. We read about the nature of God in the Bible, the account of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist clearly reveals the existence of a Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

For the convenience, here is a table showing the Biblical evidence for the Trinity arranged according to function:

Biblical Evidence of the Trinity

Called God Phil. 1:2 John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9 Acts 5:3-4
Creator Is. 64:8;44:24 John 1:3; Col. 1:15-17 Job 33:4,26:13
Resurrects 1 Thess. 1:10 John 2:19, 10:17 Rom. 8:11
Indwells 2 Cor. 6:16 Col. 1:27 John 14:17
Everywhere 1 Kings 8:27 Matt. 28:20 Ps. 139:7-10
All knowing 1 John 3:20 John 16:30 1 Cor. 2:10-11
Sanctifies 1 Thess. 5:23 Heb. 2:11 1 Pet. 1:2
Life giver Gen. 2:7 John 1:3; 5:21 2 Cor. 3:6,8
Fellowship 1 John 1:3 1 Cor. 1:9 2 Cor. 13:14
Eternal Ps. 90:2 Micah 5:1-2 Rom. 8:11
A Will Luke 22:42 Luke 22:42 1 Cor. 12:11
Speaks Matt. 3:17 Luke 5:20; 7:48 Acts 8:29; 11:12; 13:2
Love John 3:16 Eph. 5: 25 Rom. 15:30
Searches the heart Jer. 17:10 Rev. 2:23 1 Cor. 2:10
We belong to John 17:9 John 17:6 . . .
Savior 1 Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 1:4; 3:6 . . .
We serve Matt. 4:10 Col. 3:24 . . .
Believe in John 14:1 John 14:1 . . .
Gives joy . . . John 15:11 Rom. 14:7
Judges John 8:50 John 5:21,30 . . .

Source: Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

So much for Dr. Badawi's evidence of the Trinity!

Host: Some Christians believe that there is conclusive evidence for Trinity in the New Testament.

Jamal Badawi: James Hasting says that evidence for the Trinity is inconclusive, not authentic or good.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, if you consider the many verses that I provided, I think that the evidence for the Trinity is conclusive.

Host: Could you mention some scholars who believe that there is inconclusive evidence for the Trinity?

Jamal Badawi: Matthew 28:19:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

If this is true that Jesus said this, it does not mean that He spoke about a Trinity, nor that these are in one Godhood. He did not add "one God". It is like imploring someone in the name of their country, there are not all the same. Even according to Hastings and other he could not provide any understanding for the concept of the Trinity.

If the three are not a part of the Godhead, why would a person be baptized in the name of all three? Also notice that we are baptized in the ‘name' and not the ‘names' of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

The scholars are also not sure that these are the words of Jesus. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says that assuming that these were the words of Jesus, he gives the possibility that this was an early baptismal formula, there is a question if these are the words of Jesus.

Oh well, when we run out of explanations, which reach for the "lingering doubt" of the authenticity of the Bible!

Host: What about the unauthentic evidence?

Jamal Badawi: What was 1 John 5:7:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. This used to be a favorite Trinitarian quotation. These are not the words of Jesus, they are the words of John. This does not appear anywhere else in the Bible. Biblical scholars have discovered that this verse is not authentic, was not in older editions, and was dropped. In the RSV, when things are dropped/change, there is an explanation, but not with this verse. The question is, when one verse is dropped from the Bible where it has been for 19 centuries, how can that be consistent with the claims about the unchangeability of the word of God? Verse 6 was split to make 21 verses. The foundation has no existence. Even if it is not dropped, what does one mean? One spirit, identity or purpose?

This is something that Christians admit. However, the doctrine of the Trinity was not based on this passage alone. In fact, it was not even mentioned at the Council of Nicea.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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