Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Worship of the Trinity versus 'Mutilators of God'

How the Great Feast of Theophany reveals the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Triune nature of the Godhead, while exposing the false god of Islam. And how this theophany concerning the True Nature of God is the means of salvation for all, including Muslims who turn to Jesus Christ.

When Jesus was baptized by John the Forerunner in the Jordan River, the worship of the Trinity was for the first time openly revealed. As the hymn for the Feast of Theophany proclaims:

When You, O Lord
were baptized in the Jordan,
The worship of the Trinity
was made manifest, 
For the voice of the Father
bore witness to You,
And called You His beloved Son. 
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, 
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. 
O Christ, our God,
You have revealed Yourself 
And have enlightened the world,
Glory to You!

The nature of the Godhead as Three Divine Persons in a communion of co-equal loving action is pointed to through signs in the Old Testament, and perfectly revealed in the New, and transcends artificial attempts to adhere to a so-called “pure” monotheism (the Islamic doctrine of tawhid). The great Church Fathers St. John of Damascus and St. Gregory Palamas clearly point out the inherent fallacies and inconsistencies of Islamic theology by articulating the dogma of the Holy Trinity as found in the scriptures, and comparing it to Koranic passages. St John Damascene is quite bold in his refutation: 

They call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God. 
We say to them in rejoinder: ‘The Prophets and the Scriptures have delivered this to us, and you, as you persistently maintain, accept the Prophets. So, if we wrongly declare Christ to be the Son of God, it is they who taught this and handed it on to us.’ 
But some of them say that it is by misinterpretation that we have represented the Prophets as saying such things, while others say that the Hebrews hated us and deceived us by writing in the name of the Prophets so that we might be lost. 
And again we say to them: ‘As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit [“The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was Allah’s word which he conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from him” (Sura 4:171)], why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. 
Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.

St. Gregory Palamas, in his dialogues with his Turkish Muslim captors (circa 1354), elaborates greatly on St. John Damascene’s presentation, affirming God as Trinity through profound scriptural exegesis, showing as well his familiarity with the Koran, as in this excerpt:

Only God, Who ever was before the ages is unoriginate, unending, everlasting [Ps. 89:2], unchanging, indivisible, without confusion, and infinite. Everything created is perishable and changeable. God, the only unoriginate One, is neither without Reason/Logos nor is He without Wisdom. The Logos of God is also the Wisdom of God [1 Cor. 1:24], because Wisdom is in the Logos and without the Logos there is no Wisdom [1 Cor. 1:30]. Therefore, to say there was ever a time when God existed without the Logos [Jn. 1:1] and without Wisdom, is impious and impossible; for the Logos of God is also unoriginate, and Wisdom is never to be separated from Him.

Now the Logos is never to be found without the Spirit, a point which you Turks also confess. It is said that Christ is the Logos (Word) of God [Rev. 19:13] and the Spirit of God [Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6], (since He is co-essential) and never separated from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God has a Logos and a Spirit that are ever with Him, and are also unoriginate and indivisible. For God was never, nor will He ever be, without spirit or reason (logos); One therefore is Three, and these Three are One [1 Jn. 5:7]. God, therefore, has a Logos and Spirit [Jn. 1:1, 2; 1 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 2:18], but not as we have reason and a spirit. 
I shall give you an example. As the effulgence of the sun leaves it and shines down upon us, yet the radiance and the ray never separate from the disk (star) itself. That is why we name them (the radiance and the ray) ‘sun,’ and do not name them another sun apart from the one. Thus, it is the same when we name God and the Logos of God and the Holy Spirit. We do not name some other God from the One, Who is unoriginate and eternal together with the unoriginate Logos and Spirit [Eph. 2:18].

This is how we were taught to believe and confess by Christ Himself, the Logos of God. Not only did Christ teach thus, but Moses also in the Decalogue, which you adopted on your part. When Moses uttered, ‘The Lord our God is one Lord’ [Deut. 6:4], he said three times the One—because he said ‘Lord’ twice and ‘God’ once—in order to reveal the Three in One and the One in Three. From the beginning, Moses desired to reveal that God and the Logos have the Spirit and between Them and with Them is One God. 
The Creator, Who created everything, said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’ [Gen. 1:3]. He said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the herb of grass, bearing seed...’ [Gen. 1:11]. Now, without going into detail, as David says, ‘All that God said, came to be’ [Ps. 148:5; 103:32; 135:4-9]. The scriptural verse then, ‘God said, and it came to pass,’ reveals that God has a logos—for a saying cannot be without a word—and by this Logos did all creation come to pass [1 Cor. 8:6]. The Logos of God existed before all creation and is uncreated [Jn. 1:1-3; 17:5, 24; Heb. 1:2]. Since the Logos of God is uncreated, how can He not be God? This is because only God is uncreated.

Now let us return to Moses concerning the making of man. He says, ‘And God formed the man of dust of the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul’ [Gen. 2:7]. Within the verse, ‘God breathed the breath of life, and the man became a living soul,’ it is revealed that God has a Spirit* [Rom. 15:19; 8:9] and that Spirit is creating [Job 33:4; Gen. 1:2]. The Creator of the soul is solely God. Thus did Job say, ‘The divine Spirit is that which formed me, and the breath of the Almighty that which teaches me’ [Job. 33:4]. 
(Patriarch Philotheos Kokkinos, The Life of Gregory Palamas, Thessalonika, Greece, 1984, pp. 379-383. Translated from the Greek and published in English in The Lives of the Pillars of Orthodoxy, Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista CO, 1990, pp 333-335.)
*The Hebrew word ‘Ruah’ is translated as ‘Spirit’ in the Old Testament; its primary meaning is ‘Breath.’ St. Gregory here is applying both meanings in a condensed presenta- tion, and showing the Holy Spirit’s essential role in the creation.

Thus it is impossible for God to be without Logos or Spirit; otherwise He would be both dumb and uncreative. Essentially, the Logos, or Word, of God, and God’s Spirit, are of God Himself as He is in His Essence, otherwise the Logos and Spirit could not do that which They do, namely participate in the creation and ordering of the cosmos, nor in the redemption of mankind. 

St. Irenaeus described the Son of God (the Logos) and the Spirit precisely as the “two hands of God,” Who never work in the cosmos without the Other, but always in concert. The Hebrew for ‘Word,’ Dabar, possesses connotations at least as powerful as the Greek Logos, meaning ‘act,’ ‘thing,’ ‘expression,’ with Dabar YHWH referring to the Second Person of the Godhead, as in Abraham’s encounters with the LORD (cf. Gen 15:1, 18:1-2).

This has profound implications both within Islam, and regarding Islam’s relations towards non-Muslims. Islam’s extremist monotheism, in rejecting Christ as the Logos incarnate, and the revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God, not only “mutilates” God (as St. John Damascene so graphically puts it), but collapses down into a circular, self-defining, theological black hole, from which no light emanates. Allah sends his “revelations” only through Muhammad, and Allah’s “revelations” reveal only Muhammad as Allah’s final Messenger. Allah commands his followers, 
"Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Sura 9:29)

... and Muhammad says in a hadith,
“I have been ordered [by Allah] to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah... so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me.” (Sahih Bukhari, 1:2:25, also Sahih Muslim, 1:10:29-35)

The 14th century Islamic scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah asserts this same circular logic, and concludes that "absolute submission" is due to Muhammad:
“The way to truly obeying God passes through the Prophet. He is infallible in whatever he says; and must be obeyed in whatever he commands. All other authorities, religious and political, are to be obeyed so long as they do not enjoin anything which goes against the command of God, and no other than the Prophet is infallible... Let it be clear that absolute submission is due only to the Prophet.” (Ibn Taymiyyah Expounds on Islam, pp 224, 225, 241, 243;

Since Muhammad is so highly elevated within Islamic tradition that he is due "absolute submission", it is perfectly legitimate to compare him to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, especially when it comes to how each of them responded to those who rejected their message. 

Muhammad became a pirate raider and warlord, targeting caravans, cities and tribes, meting out punishment against non-Muslims with the sword, killing, beheading, raping, looting and taking women sex-slaves as a matter of course, leaving only destruction and misery and rivers of blood in his wake. 

Yet Jesus rebukes even any hint of such a destroying spirit in His disciples, as seen in this passage: 

Now when it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven to consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went to another village (Lk 9:51-56, emphasis added).

The false god of Islam commands Muslims to fight against Christians until they convert to Islam, or submit to its rule and pay the jizya. If we Christians refuse, we are to be destroyed. Muhammad asserted that he had been commanded to fight against Christians until they convert or pay the jizya and submit. 

Muhammad is thus revealed to be of the spirit of the Destroyer, “in Hebrew Abaddon, in Greek Apollyon,” who is “the angel of the bottomless pit” referenced in the Apocalypse of John (Rev. 9:11). It is this “spirit” which firmly ensconces Muhammad as the “prophet of antichrist.”  (Adapted from Facing Islam, pp 64-68, 115, 132)

Jesus, in divine contrast, came to do the will of the Father, which is that none should perish, but that all may come to the knowledge of the Truth (cf 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9). He came to "lay down his life for the sheep." 
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. (John 8:28-30)

Is it not interesting that Jesus specifically says, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know...", clearly prophesying his crucifixion as the defining revelation of his obedience to the Father, yet the Koran denies that Jesus was crucified (Sura 4:157), and Muslims are told to believe this as the very words of God. 

God reveals Himself through the Cross, and Islam denies it.

God reveals His love for the world through the Cross, and Islam denies it.

The Son of God lays down His life for the life of the world, and Islam denies it.

Islam denies the crucifixion, because Islam denies the True God. 

Instead, the false god and false prophet of Islam urge their deceived followers to wage war against the Church. How fake, weak and pathetic Muhammad and Allah are revealed to be! That they must fight against the weak of this world, the humble, simple, poor followers of Jesus in order to feel successful, superior. 

Jesus told his disciples, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be glad! For great is your reward in the heavens!" (Mt 5:3, 11, 12)

This divine humility, meekness, kenosis, is ours by grace through abiding in Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit. Oh that our persecutors could see this and repent! May their eyes be opened!

The Lord Jesus promised that the gates of hell shall certainly not prevail against His Church. Therefore neither shall Islam, though it is as close to the very gates of hell as one can get.

I will take this one step further...

Muslims who know Muhammad is a false prophet yet who do not leave Islam, and who know Allah is a false god, and do not leave Islam, are guilty of a grave sin. Their silence implies their assent to every command of Allah in the Koran, every command to fight, kill, maim, smite, destroy.

This is a grave sin, but Muslims can be saved if they turn to Jesus Christ and repent. There is hope for Muslims who wish to be set free! For man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible! 

I believe that in our day, Jesus, in this passage from the Gospel according to John, is speaking directly to Muslims, seeking to set them free from the sin of believing in Allah and Muhammad:

Then Jesus said to those [Muslims] who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” 
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” 
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” 
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” 
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  
"But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:31-47)

Allah was "a murderer from the beginning..."

"There is no truth in Allah. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources..."

Dear Muslim readers, if you hear Jesus calling you this day, flee to Him, do not delay! You may save your eternal soul by responding to His call! May you come to know him through the Holy Spirit, and taste the depths of love within the Holy Trinity!

May you be baptized with faith in Jesus Christ on this Feast of Theophany!