How Can Isa Be Divine? How Can Allah, Who Is One, Be a “Trinity”? (Part Two)
The Holy Scriptures say that in the beginning Allah spoke and things came into being (Genesis 1-2). They also say this:
In the very beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and was God. He was in the beginning with God. Everything was made through him. Not a single created thing was made apart from him. … And the Word became a human being and lived among us. (John 1:1-3, 14)
People who believe in the Holy Scriptures believe in only one God. But what is the nature of God? If our own nature is complex and mysterious, how much more is Allah's. If we have parts that interrelate and communicate, what about him? Isa came to earth as a man, but before that he was the Word of God. In the beginning, Allah's command brought everything into being (Hebrews 11:3). God's Word has power. How that can be we don't know, any more than we know all about ourselves. Allah ta'ala is more complex than we realize.
The word “trinity” is not in the Holy Scriptures, but the concept is. Just prior to leaving earth and returning to heaven, Isa told his followers to ritually wash new disciples “in the name of the Father and the Son and Allah's Holy Spirit.” Isa said “name,” not “names.” In other places he claimed very boldly to be one with God (e.g., John 10:22-39). Likewise, Allah's Holy Spirit is called God (e.g., Acts 5:3-4). So the Scriptures teach that there is one God consisting of three persons, each of whom can separately be called “God” because they are of the divine essence. This is the doctrine of the trinity.
When Isa claimed to be the Son of the Most High, he was not implying that he was created through Maryam, his earthly mother. She was only the means by which the eternal Word of God came into this world. The Word of God is one of the titles of Isa from eternity, according to John 1:1-4, 14. Before that time he was one with Allah. Allah did not need to create anything because he was not a one-in-one being. He was self-sufficient and self-fulfilled, a three-in-one being consisting of the Father, his Son (also known as his Word), and his Holy Spirit. Within his own self, Allah could communicate, love, and do what was right. He was and remains content and self-fulfilled, able to fully function apart from anyone else. He created because love shares, and he wanted to share his love with us. These are deep truths, but ones that should not shock us. Anything less takes away from Allah's power, his grandeur, his majesty, and his infinitude. Allah is great, and far greater than we imagine. The Scriptures do not try to fully explain the mystery of God's nature or how he came to earth. How can a mere man understand Allah? The Scriptures simply state the truth.
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16, NIV)
Embrace the attitude of Isa al-Masih. Though fully divine, he did not cling to equality with the Most High. Instead, he set his glory aside and became a servant, fully human. And when he was a man, he obeyed and humbled himself unto death, and that on a cross. Therefore Allah has greatly honored him, granting him a name above all others. So, at the name of Isa, every knee will bow, whether in high heaven, upon the earth, or beneath it all, and every mouth will acknowledge that Isa Masih is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
An example from the physical world might help, although no analogy is really sufficient to describe the magnificence of the Most High. We all know about fire. It cooks our meals and warms our homes. A giant fire in space lights up our world. We speak of “fire” as a single thing, but it actually consists of three elements: a fuel source, a visible flame, and heat. Remove any one and there can be no fire. Three elements, one concept, one word. Fire points to the trinity. God the Father is like the fuel. Isa, coming from him, said “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The Holy Spirit, like the invisible heat, brings Allah's power to the world and even to a person's life (Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:22-23). Maybe that's why Allah first spoke to the great prophet Musa through a fire, a burning bush that was not consumed (Exodus 3:1-6).
There is only one God. He is one and three-in-one. He is great, and his nature is marvelous.