PRINCIPLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
Basic differences, even contradictions
among religions, are an actuality. An expression which we may call conciliatory is often voiced:
three monotheistic religions of
the world Judaism, Christianity and
Islam are described in this way. It is worth considering if this usage has a
unifying element, or not.
The three religions to which ordinary
folks refer as monotheistic are basically
discordant and in many cases antithetical.
Monotheism, as is being used today,
starts with Abraham. The historic significance of monotheistic belief
is seen in the course of history by Abrahams
faith in the One God and Gods reckoning
it to him for righteousness (cf.
Jesus Christ is from Abrahams
family as far as human line is concerned.
Jesus explained Abrahams monotheism
with striking language: Your
father Abraham rejoiced that he was to
see my day; he saw it and was glad.
When the Jewish religious leaders
heard this emphatic statement of Jesus
at the temple, they became aggravated:
are not yet fifty years old, and have
you seen Abraham?
Jesus said to them, Truly,
truly, I say to you, before Abraham was,
Then they grabbed stones.
They were pursuing a hazardous
objective, but Jesus hid himself and went
out of the temple (cf. John 8:56-59). His hour of death had not yet arrived.
Jewish rejection of Jesus has been
a long tradition.
These people whose history stretches
four thousand years back to Abraham, at
the end of the ages, will believe in Jesus
This is one of the distinct prophetic
revelations in Gods Word (cf. Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 44:3; 59:20; Ezekiel
39:29; Psalm 14:7; Romans 11:26; Revelation
The New Testament addresses everybody
in precise emphasis: For
Christ is the end of the law, that every
one who has faith may be justified (Romans
The monotheism of the religion
which does not acknowledge Christ as the
termination of the Law is captive to legal
The adherent of that religion is
the picture of a person groping to find
his/her way to fulfillment of life.
This endeavor is nothing short
of the effort to be a slave of a despotic
God under the heavy burden of the law;
whereas God, who is love, does not seek
slaves, but children.
He is not in search of Umma (world-wide community of the faithful),
but of individual men and women devoted
to the faith of Abraham.
BELIEF PROJECTED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
After having referred cursorily
to Judaism − being outside of the
subject − we ought to direct our
attention to Islam which is on center
stage around the world. He/she, who acknowledges Jesus Christ as the
pre-existent Person from the eons, the
Creator, but uncreated Word, is an unwavering
believer of Tathlis
(description of trinitarianism in Islam.
Arabic: enlarging to three.) Christ is the eternal God who appeared in flesh.
Against this belief, the Muslim
is an unswerving devotee of Tawhid
(Unitarianism in the strictest sense:
one Allah alone, with no concession whatsoever.) These two words divide sharply the monotheism
of Christianity and that of Islam.
This irreconcilable division may
disappoint the advocates of idealistic
monotheism along with syncretism in our
The teaching of Gods Word and
the firm belief of Christs follower who
espouses the fact of the One in Three
and Three in One godhead center on this
Whoever deviates from this divine
fact is a heretic according to the historic
Among these are the Arians, Jehovahs
Witnesses (Russelites), Unitarians and
the most committed of all, Muslims.
All councils throughout the history
of the Christian church have interpreted
the New Testament in adherence to the
They explain the Christian faith
in the light of this God-inspired truth
(cf. Matthew 28:19; John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Thessalonians
3:5; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:2, etc.) Every person acquainted with a major language
should study the Christian classic, Trinity, written by Augustine of Hippo (354-430). In this book written by a redeemed and illuminated
intellectual theologian the reader can
find the answer to his unending queries.
Augustines handling of this truth
based on the Holy Scriptures has addressed
whole centuries and instructed millions.
UNITY OF GODS PERSONALITY
It is not wrong at all to say
that Islams fierce objection to the belief
of Tathlis is centered on the doctrine of Tawhid. Reference to the Quran
takes the person to the very root of the
militant contention always expressed by
the informed Muslim.
But the unbelievers among the people of the
Book, and among the Polytheists, shall
go into the fire of Gehenna to abide there
Of all creatures, are they the
worst! (El-Beyinne : 6).
The title in English of the
mentioned Sura is Clear
It is a known fact that according
to Islam those who believe in the triune
godhead throughout history are mentioned
as kâfir (blasphemous, or infidel). Tathlis is the most terrifying sin. All sins can be forgiven, but from the Islamic viewpoint, attributing
any partner (Shirk,
Ishrak) to Allah or making someone
equal to him can never be forgiven, whereas
in Christianity belief in Tathlis
(trinitarianism) is the most meaningful
and profound ground of truth.
God, Three in One, One in Three,
is the very Being of the supernatural
RAB (LORD): Father, Son (Word) and Holy
This is the irrefutable manifestation
of the One God revealing himself in Three
Persons. In this basic teaching, the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit, each One separately
and yet jointly is the One God. It is a spiritual perception, explained in the New Testament in the following mysterious
God was manifested in the flesh, vindicated
in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached
among the nations, believed on in the
world, taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:16).
This is the Biblical belief of
God is seen in mans creation,
redemption and sanctification.
He does all these as One God in
three distinct Persons. This understanding can only be attained with
The end result of approaching the
concept of God in the simplified formula
of one+one+one = three, with any further
argument excluded, is religion put into
a straight jacket.
Such simplistic determinism is
However, the truth of the matter
is stated in the profoundest manner: The Word became flesh (John 1:14). This
is the fundamental teaching of the New
Testament, the eternal God taking on flesh
without any violation of his Supreme Being. This carries our attention to the record in
Genesis that man was created in the image
a view which takes away the element of
mystery from the godhead, formulating
a hasty and austere axiom.
The attainment of truth can only
be realized through investigation. Theology and natural science succinctly teach this. It ought to be remembered that all assertions
which run contrary to truth are human
inventions. Conversely, truth is eternal and embraces all
The comprehension of this can be
appreciated by investigating every subject
in its entirety and full objectivity,
obtaining answers with divine-historic
perspective. Again, it is befitting to go to a verse in the
Quran which is known to almost everybody:
In the last day Allah is interrogating
Jesus by addressing him as son of Mary.
Allah asks him if he taught man,
me and my mother for two gods, beside
Jesus replies that he has not
done such a thing, and if he did, Allah
would have known (Al-Maide :116). The English title of the Sura is The Table. It is clearly seen here that the three gods to whom reference
is made are Allah, Jesus and Mary.
It will also be helpful to look
at the seventy-third and seventy-fifth
verses of Al-Maide.
ORIGIN OF THE FIERCE CONTENTION
The doctrine of Tathlis has to do with the Father, Son
and Holy Spirit.
How could it be that Mary finds
her way into the three-in-one one-in-three
godhead? At no period in history has it ever been heard
that the Christian faith espoused such
an earthly and ridiculous belief. Deviation to such a disparaging assumption has
been rebuffed more profoundly by Trinitarian
Christians than by the Islamic rejection
People who have believed in the
triune godhead never allowed such a preposterous
invasion of the truth of the Trinity.
It is self-evident that in the
Quran a viewpoint is proposed which runs
contrary to the historical-theological
At this juncture we are reminded
of the obligation to be conscientious
in the objective search for truth.
Truth does not allow anyone an
From where could the prophet of
Islam have obtained this information which
is without concrete confirmation?
The person who takes up an objective
historic study will encounter no difficulty
in obtaining the right answer to the belief
Prior to the appearance of Islam
in the fifth century there existed a peculiar
cluster of people which worshipped and
honored Aphrodite (Venus), whom they considered
the queen of heaven.
With the spread of Christianity
these pagans switched to the new faith
without exactly knowing what it was.
Worst of all, they didnt search
the Christian scriptures.
However, these heathen did not
wish to abandon the adoration of Aphrodite. They found an easy solution by naming her Mary.
This way Aphrodite became Mary.
Such a bewildering belief was condemned
outright by the Christians of the time
and was rejected as being part of their
It was categorized as a heretical
Nevertheless, its adherents continued
serving and venerating Mary as Queen of
Heaven. Thus Mary was enthroned on Venus seat. The cult was so thoroughly devoted to Mary that
her importance surpassed that of God and
Christ. Its followers came to be known as Miriamists. Both in their teaching and practice a triune
formula was venerated with Mary at the
The prophet of Islam who in his
commercial enterprises traveled from the
Arab Peninsula to Damascus and Aleppo
became acquainted with the Miriamists. He listened to the tenets of their religion
and formed an idea.
The most regrettable formulation
in his mind was to equate the Miriamists
with the Christians.
Being illiterate according to Islamic
legend he considered Jesus Christ an element
in their teaching. This opinion passed into the Quran. The Muslim prophet, not having understood the
true Persons of the Holy Trinity strayed
to erroneous beliefs and practices.
Following the spread of Islam the
Miriamists this time embraced the prophets
religion and their cult withered.
But the essence of this deviate
teaching could not be wiped out.
It even influenced Islam considerably
in its reverence of Mother Mary.
If the Muslim chooses to study
the evidences of objective history he
can delve into the depth of the encumbrances
and misgivings which trouble him.
Quite likely they will evaporate
and the spring of heretical teachings
will be exposed in front of his eyes.
When a religion is deprived from
objective search and evidence it finds
itself in perplexing quandaries, causing
its followers to row in rough waters.
OF BELIEF THAT BACKFIRE
The teaching of Tawhid so predominant in Islam, robs God
of personhood and from a healthy relationship
with his creatures. It reduces him to an unloving, unloved entity,
unable to make his dwelling in his believers
inner life. Allah cannot use attributes employed by man,
i.e., Father, Son, etc.
He cannot provide atonement for
the sinner, neither new birth nor certainty
of eternal life.
He is a harsh master of slaves,
who dictates to and regulates rules on
his followers. Men and women attached to such a religion cannot enter into life-relationship
with the living God.
They cannot call on God as their
father. They are orphans on this God-created earth.
The adherent of Tawhid is deprived of the unlimited blessings
of the three-in-one, one-in-three godhead,
Tathlis. This God astounds his believer with the blessings he bestows:
unqualified salvation, ethical guidance
that runs absolutely in concurrence with
belief in God, unwavering love to God,
also to friend or foe, appreciation of
meaningful prayer, worship with content. Belief in Tawhid points to an Allah of unity. This austere doctrine reduces God to an imposing, incommunicative,
harsh task-master who dictates burdensome
demands. The religious person depriving his/her soul of Gods generous bestowments
slides into fanaticism, fatalism and futilitarianism. He/she strives on one hand to make matters of life function, and
on the other seeks support from Ummaism
(community identification) or corresponding
The person who cannot subdue the
flames of vindictiveness within himself
will never be able to make room for that
pleasant breeze which would relieve him
from vehemence. The devoted adherent of this doctrine cannot
avoid resorting to harshness and oppression.
He readily carries religious matters into
the realm of politics. He is unable to
forgive; neither knows the joy of absolute
forgiveness which radically transforms
the world of the redeemed sinner.
The mien of true humility is excluded
in this belief.
The offender does not ask or seek
forgiveness from the offended. He is a person without the certainty of life
He is a religious devotee whose
chains of sin have not been broken.
He is a person who cannot be extricated
from misgiving and disquiet. He moves
in a world of rejecters who cannot be
relieved from negativism. In too many cases, he resorts to superstition,
fear and unknowable fatalistic beliefs,
demons, etc. At the same time, he cries Help me, Allah! He/she is a person with a burning desire to
be liberated; a person whom God and the
Christian believer love very specially.
The formalistic-ritualistic outlook
of the person who follows Islam is of
one who has been stripped of meaningful
relationship with his Maker, and with
fellow-humans considered outside of his/her
Gods supernatural attributes are overshadowed.
This person is not fully aware
that Gods character is metaphysical,
above the natural, beyond mathematical
calculations. It is inconceivable to grasp such a God with human measures. The father of Jesus Christ disclosed himself
through his revealed Word and his Word
manifested in the flesh, in the Person
of Jesus Christ (cf.
John 1:18). In Tathlis
God the Father is eternal (cf.
Deuteronomy 33:27; Malachi 3:6).
God the Son is eternal (cf.
Hebrews 1:10; 13:8).
God the Holy Spirit is eternal
Genesis 1:2; Hebrews 9:14).
The Second Person in Tathlis is co-existent with the Father,
not created conversely the One manifest
in his character as the creator who took
human flesh through Mary.
He is the eternal Son.
Any attempt to strip him of this
honor carries the individual into the
state of a lost traveler who is seeking
to find direction in an open desert.
At this juncture an observation
regarding Christs position as the incarnate
eternal Son of God may illuminate our
In ancient Greece where the light
of civilization glowed, men in their search
of God deified human beings who in turn
as gods came to man with a series of demands.
Against this, God who wants the
human race to know him accurately, assumed
the body of man in the person of Jesus
Christ, who humbled himself and met our
ENRICHED BY BELIEF IN THE FATHER, SON
AND HOLY SPIRIT
Relationship with the God one-in-three
three-in-one endows the person with unthinkable
riches now and throughout eternity:
1. One who believes in the Son as the gracious expression of the Fathers
love obtains eternal life (cf.
John 3:16-18; Hebrews 12:9).
2. He/she can address God as my
Father, even as abba,
Father. This heartfelt approach to God is even more
reassuring than a childs attachment to
his/her physical father (cf. Psalm 68:5; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
3. He/she who believes in Jesus
Christ as Gods Son worships God by addressing
him as our Father who is in heaven, boldly bringing
his requests to him.
The worshipper of Christ is a privileged
person, worshipping in his/her own language,
way of expression and conversational manner
(cf. Matthew 6:9). The personal
feelings of Christs follower are expressed
in this way.
4. To the believer there is one God and one Father (cf. Ephesians 4:6) who bestows the privilege
to approach him through his Son.
5. God dwells in the person who believes in Jesus Christ as his only
begotten Son and he/she dwells in God
1 John 4:15).
6. The person who believes in Jesus as Gods Son is a recipient of unthinkable
Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 1:5-7; James
7. The person who acknowledges God as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ
is enriched with blessings through this
mysterious relationship unknown in human
circles elsewhere (cf.
John 17:21). He/she who does not appreciate God as Incarnate
in the Son, the living Word, who listens
to us and answers our requests, is in
constant search of a concrete personal
relationship with God. In the failure to obtain this elsewhere, he/she
naturally resorts to a human being, consequently
deifying the creature.
ADHERENT OF TATHLIS WHO ACKNOWLEDGES THE
TRINITY ENJOYS GODS APPROVAL
(cf. Matthew 3:16, 17; 12:18;
17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; 2 Peter 1:17)
1. In the mentioned verses we hear from the witness of God the Father
regarding his only Son.
God is introducing his dear Son
to mankind encouraging the person who
believes in him.
2. The Lord Jesus Christ is designated Son of God in power by his resurrection
from the dead.
Belief in this divine act secures
everlasting life (cf.
3. God the Father made his only Son heir and sovereign over mankind.
The Father has granted him absolute
authority to forgive sin and justify sinners,
to offer eternal life and judge sinners
Matthew 28:18; John 5:22, 27; 8:16; 17:2).
4. The concrete manifest evidence of Gods love is his giving his only
Son as atonement for lost mankinds sin
(cf. 1 John 4:19; Romans 5:8). Acceptance
of Christ gains Gods approval.
5. Eternal life can be appropriated by knowing the only true God and
his Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent to
humankind (cf. Acts 8:37; John 17:3; 1 John 4:15).
6. No human source can apprise anyone of Jesus Christ being Gods Son.
Only the Father can reveal the
Son to mankind and enlighten the believer
in this joyous knowledge (cf. Matthew 16:7; John 1:49).
7. Only the person who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Gods Son can enjoy
him in his full splendor for all eternity
(cf. Revelation 1:12-16; 2:18).
AS THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE, THE HOLY
SPIRIT IS AN ETERNAL PERSON
BELIEVER WHO HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS/HER
IN THE AIR OF THE EVERLASTING
1. Just as the Father and the
Son, the Holy Spirit is the Creator (cf.
Genesis 1:1, 2; Job 26:13; 27:3; 33:4;
Romans 1:20; Hebrews 1:10).
no one comprehends the thoughts of God except
the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11b).
2. The Holy Spirit descended upon the small community of believers following
the ascension of Jesus Christ to the highest. He supplied them with entirely new power and
Acts 2:2). He is the Guide and Counselor of the believers
3. Prior to his crucifixion the Lord Jesus Christ promised the apostles
that he would send the Holy Spirit (cf.
The person who acknowledges
the Holy Spirit as Lord is capable of
knowing that he/she is a Spirit-guided
child of God (cf.
This person is not an orphan
on Gods earth.
4. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete
sent by Christ to his believers.
He is Comforter and Counselor.
The believer wrestling with the
harsh realities of life is not afraid
even of death (cf.
John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7).
5. The Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer bears witness for Christ
John 15:26; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8).
The believer can present Christ
to sinners through the effect of the Holy
Spirit alone (cf. John 15:5).
6. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit
of Truth (cf. John 14:17). He
the world concerning sin, and righteousness
and judgment (John 16:8). The Holy
Spirits deeds and glorious executions
are evident in the life of the believer.
7. The Holy Spirit is Lord. Along
with the Bride (the Church assembly),
He is awaiting the triumphant return of
As an individual studies
Gods inspired Word, he/she is bound to
realize that the two positions, i.e.,
the Christian who finds the certainty
and consistency in Tathlis, and the Muslim who takes determined
opposition to this through Tawhid,
are in perpetual variance and doctrinal
clash. It is inconceivable to reconcile the monotheism of the two religions
or establish a common theological and
attainable ground between the two.
The Muslim who is eager to earn
Gods approval in his/her life is under
the compulsion to examine the belief of
with open-mindedness from Scriptural-historical
stance, pray to the One God, asking him
to reveal his truth.
God will enlighten every soul that
seeks the light.
Christ will redeem every soul that
The Holy Spirit will convince every
soul that seeks to understand the revulsion