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Oneness Of God, The Ultimate Solution To The Trinitarian Controversy
by:  Mamarinta-Umar P. Mababaya.
Revised by our Site via:  Abdulaziz Addwesh.
Publishing house:  Wisdom Enrichment Foundation, Inc. Mindanao State University, Marawi City, Philippines.
Publishing date:  1988G.


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Introduction

            Are you aware of the historical controversy between the Trinitarian and the Unitarian doctrines? Are you also aware that Islam offers the ultimate solution to such controversy?

            The Trinitarian controversy is one of the most crucial events in the annals of Christendom. World renown Christian historian Edward Gibbon points out that the Trinitarian controversy, which raged particularly during the fourth century, has successively penetrated every part of the Christian world[1].

            On one hand, the Pauline Church (currently known as the Roman Catholic Church) has for centuries fought for the global acceptance of the Trinitarian doctrine. The concept of Trinity is the nucleus of the Athanasian Creed which states that:" There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal... The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God ... For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods, or three Lords"[2].

            The nature of this creed has for centuries been so controversial and mysterious that even its own author, Athanasius of Alexandria, one of the principal leaders of the Pauline church, failed to comprehend it. This champion of Trinity himself confessed that, "Whenever he forced his understanding to meditate on the divinity of the Logos, his toilsome and unveiling efforts recoiled on themselves; that the more he thought, the less he comprehended; and the more he wrote, the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts"[3].

            The nature of the Trinity is so mysterious that, as Edward Gibbon remarks, "as often as we deduce any positive conclusions from a negative idea, we are involved in darkness, perplexity, and inevitable contradiction"[4].

            On the other hand, the Apostolic Church has over the years advocated the belief in the Unity of God, and as such ruled out the deity of Jesus (peace be upon him). Among those who originally opposed the Trinitarian doctrine were the so-called Ebionites of Nazarenes. They considered Jesus as the greatest of the prophets, endowed with supernatural virtues and power[5].

            The mysteries of the Christian faith were dangerously exposed to public debate when Arius, the champion of Apostolic Church, popularly confronted Bishop Alexander, the champion of the Pauline Church. These two were in hot theological dispute for a period of six years - from 318 A.D. through 325 A.D. Arius, the disciple of Lucian of Antioch, the greatest critic of the Trinitarian doctrine, strongly advocated the view that God is absolutely One and alone Eternal[6]. Such Unitarian view, which conformed to the original teachings of Jesus and all other prophets (peace be upon them all), had definitely exposed the Trinitarian doctrine to a critical, controversial state. This, however, did not stop the Pauline Church from gaining control of large part of Christendom. This happened for known reasons discussed elsewhere. The next section presents the historical background of the Trinitarian controversy.

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[1] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II, ed. By J.B. Bury (New York: AMS Press Inc., 1974), p. 355.
[2] Ulfat Aziz-su-Samad, Islam and Christianity (Riyadh: Presidency of Islamic Research, Ifta and Propagation, 1984), p. 29.
[3] Edward Gibbon, Vol. II op. cit., pp. 360-361.
[4] Ibid., p. 361.
[5] According to Edward Gibbon, the Ebionites "ascribed to his person (Jesus) and to his future reign all the predictions of the Hebrew oracles which relate to the spiritual Messiah. Some of them might confess that he was born of a virgin; but they obstinately rejected the preceding existence and divine perfections of the Logos or Son of God�" Ibid., pp. 358-359.
[6] Muhammad Ata ur-Rahim, Jesus: Prophet of Islam (Riyadh: Presidency of Islamic Research, Ifta and Propagation, 1984), pp. 105.


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