I proceed from where I previously left off: DEBATE CHALLENGE TO MUSLIM METAPHYSICIAN PT. 1.
THE QURAN CONFIRMS THE TRINITY
What makes this all the more ironic, in fact shocking, is that the Islamic “revelation” actually confirms the Trinity, albeit unwittingly.
Take, for instance, the very passage that Adnan cited:
O People of the Book! Go not beyond the limits in your way of life and say not about God but The Truth: That the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was a Messenger of God and His Word that He cast to Mary and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers. And say not: Three (wala taqooloo thalathatun). To refrain yourselves from it is better for you. There is only One God. Glory be to Him that He have a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in and on the earth and God sufficed as a Trustee. S. 4:171 (Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st46.htm)
Here is another version:
O ye people of the Book! do not exceed in your religion, nor say against God aught save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, which He cast into Mary and a spirit from Him; believe then in God and His apostles, and say not ‘Three.’ Have done! it were better for you. God is only one God, celebrated be His praise that He should beget a Son! His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and God sufficeth for a guardian. Palmer
This passage is confirming that Jesus is the preexistent Word of God who came forth as a Spirit from him in order to become incarnate from the blessed virgin Mary!
The Quran is simply parroting John’s teaching that Christ is the eternal Logos (Greek for Word) that became flesh, just as the authors/editors of the Study Quran candidly admit:
“… The understanding of Jesus as a messenger of God is consistent with several Gospel verses that state Jesus was sent by God (see, e.g., John 5:23; 5:30; 5:36-37; 6:39; 6:44; 6:57; 8:16; 8:18; 8:39; 8:43; 10:36; 12:49; 14:24; 17:21; 17:25; 20:21.) Yet the Quran ascribes unique distinctions to certain prophets, which then become the basis of their honorific titles in Islamic tradition. For example, God is said to have taken Abraham for a friend (v. 125), the basis of his honorific title Khalil Allah (the intimate friend of God), and to have spoken to Moses ‘directly’ (v. 164), the basis of his honorific title Kalim Allah (one who speaks with God).
“In the present verse, the uniqueness of Jesus among the messengers is affirmed in several ways, including his title Ruh Allah (‘Spirit of Allah’). He is referred to here and in certain places, however, as the Messiah (al-Masih), a term that in Arabic is understood to refer to his having been purified by God of sin (T). This is not unrelated to the concept of being ‘anointed,’ the root meaning of the word in Hebrew.
“He is also identified as God’s Word (see also 3:45; 19:34), an idea that has CLEAR RESONANCE with the Gospel tradition, where Jesus is identified as the ‘Word’ of God (See John 1). Christian and Islamic tradition, however, derive different theological conclusions from this appellation. In the Islamic context, the identification of Jesus as God’s Word does not preclude or overshadow his function as the bringer of the Gospel, which, like the Torah and the Quran, represent God’s Word and message to humanity. Some commentators interpret His Word here as the tidings Mary received of his miraculous conception in her womb or as an allusion to the Divine Creative Command Be! by which Christ was formed in Mary’s womb (see 3:45, 59; R, T). HOWEVER, while all created beings are brought into existence through God’s Word, Christ ALONE is specifically identified as ‘a Word from God.’ Some might argue, therefore, that Jesus, by virtue of being identified as God’s Word, somehow PARTICIPATES (UNIQUELY) in the Divine Creative Command, although this is not the traditional Islamic understanding of Jesus’ identification as a Word from Him (3:45).
“The miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth is also alluded to here in that he is identified as God’s Word committed to Mary (alqaha ila Maryam), which could also be rendered ‘cast upon Mary.’ Cf. 66:12, where it is said that God breathed His Spirit into Mary. Consistent with the implicit representation in 66:12 of Jesus as God’s ‘Spirit’ breathed into Mary, in the present verse Jesus is also identified as a Spirit from God. Cf., 2:87, 253; 5:110 where Jesus is strengthened… with the Holy Spirit. It is on this basis that Jesus is given the honorific title ‘Spirit of God’ (Ruh Allah) in the Islamic tradition. Some commentators, however, understand Jesus’ description a Spirit from God metaphorically and consider Spirit here to be either a reference to Jesus’ purity or a metaphor for God’s mercy (rahmah; R).” (The Study Quran, p. 267; bold and capital emphasis mine)
The Muslim scripture also describes the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God as a divine Person whom God sends to create and give life, just as we see in the following passages:
(Muhammad), mention in the Book (the Quran) the story of Mary how she left her family and started living in a solitary place to the East out of her people’s sight. We sent Our Spirit to her, who stood before her in the shape of a well formed human being. Mary said, “Would that the Beneficent God would protect me from you. Leave me alone if you are a God fearing person”. He said, “I am the Messengers of your Lord. I have come to give you a purified son“. S. 19:16-19 (Muhammad Sarwar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/19/st23.htm)
And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts, so We breathed into it of Our Spirit and she established as true the Words of her Lord and His Books and she had been among the ones who are morally obligated. S. 66:12 (Bakhtiar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/66/st46.htm)
In these examples, the Spirit appears to Mary as a perfect looking man to announce to her that God has sent him to give her an absolutely pure son. The Spirit did this by God breathing him into Mary’s body in order to cause her to conceive Jesus in her blessed womb.
God also breathed his Spirit into Adam,
And when thy Lord said to the angels, ‘See, I am creating a mortal of a clay of mud moulded. When I have shaped him, and breathed My spirit in him, fall you down, bowing before him!’ S. 15:28-29 Arberry
For the obvious purpose of animating Adam’s body so he could become a living being. This shows that the Spirit is the personal divine breath of God through whom God creates and imparts life.
The Holy Spirit was also sent to strengthen Jesus during his earthly ministry,
When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead by My permission; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic; S. 5:110 Pickthall – cf. Q. 2:87, 253
Here we have an explicit reference to God’s Triunity, i.e., God/Allah, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all working together as Jesus carries out his earthly mission.
Once again, the Quran is doing nothing other than parrot the Holy Bible at this point:
“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. And His fame went throughout the surrounding region. He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by everyone. He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. When He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He rolled up the scroll, and He gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:14-21
“The word which He sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, the word, which you know, that was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:36-38
The Spirit is further sent to strengthened believers to remain faithful to the will of God:
Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are Allah’s party. Lo! is it not Allah’s party who are the successful? S. 58:22 Pickthall
In order for the Spirit to strengthen all believers everywhere, he must be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Yet the only way the Spirit could possess such attributes as if he is God in essence, a fact that is even admitted by the late Muslim translator and commentator Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
“… Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, ‘a spirit from Himself’. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker’s heart, and further fortifies him with THE DIVINE SPIRIT, which we can no more adequately define in human language the nature of God.” (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, fn. 5365; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Hence, instead of condemning the Trinity the Islamic scripture actually bears witness to it by affirming that Jesus is the preexistent divine Word who became flesh, and that God’s Spirit is a divine Person who does what only God can do.
I have more for Jake in the next installment: DEBATE CHALLENGE TO MUSLIM METAPHYSICIAN PT. 2.