Simple Godly Truth: Three is NOT One

Trinitarianism is Tritheism in Disguise

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

 

It’s Gandalf… it’s a bird … it’s superman! It’s One! It’s Three! What???: Trinitarianism is Tritheism in Disguise.

“ ‘Trinitarianism, the faith of the Christian, is often Tritheism in disguise.’—(Dr. Vaughan.)’ “ [1]

However much the Trinitarian tries to convince himself and others and no matter the amount of complicated and convoluted sophistry that he pours into his theological acrobatics, he shall never in his sanity be able to superimpose the Father, the Son and the Dove as One Being. There will ever be three in the mind and this makes him a polytheist – a worshipper of three gods.

Many attempts to make sense of the strange idea of the Trinity that was never articulated by Jesus or his disciples often end up in Tritheism. For example, The Swiss philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg conceived the Trinity as three distinct principles: love, wisdom and energy. He believed that the Trinity came with the Incarnation and perceived an “eternal Trinity” as tritheistic and disclaimed both Protestants and Catholics as deviants. His belief gained foothold in such great personalities as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James Senior and Andrew Jackson Davis.

“Swedenborg called for adherence to the Word but in a special sense. He transformed the Trinity from three persons to three principles: love, wisdom, and energy. Insisting that the Trinity appeared with the Incarnation, he called the concept of an eternal Trinity thinly disguised tritheism and compared its Protestant and Catholic devotees to “lascivious harlots and purveyors of death.” [2]

Numerous other analogies have been put forward by Trinitarian theologians and lay persons alike in their feeble attempts to make their belief in this odd doctrine appear sensible. A rather below the belt analogy that was presented by Christianity’s premiere philosopher William Lane Craig has it that God is similar to Cerberus the dog of hell. Other popular analogies include the egg (the shell, the white and the yoke), H20 in three forms and most interestingly a Christian missionary suggested to me once that the Trinity resembles the male testicles. Whatever deranged and absurd examples, comparisons and analogies that they can possibly conjure up, each of them inevitable result in polytheism.

“We will venture to say, that there has never yet been a definition of the Trinity which has not been either Tritheistic or Modalistic; and church Orthodoxy has always stood either on Tritheistic or Sabellian ground. In other words, the Orthodox Trinity of any age, when searched to the bottom, has proved to be Unitarianism after all, – Unitarianism in the Tritheistic or in the Sabellian disguise;

The analogies which are used to explain the Trinity are all either Sabellian or Tritheistic. Nature has been searched in all ages for these analogies, by which to make the Trinity plain; but none have ever been found which did not make the Trinity either Sabellianism or Tritheism. They are either three parts of the substance, or else three qualities or modes of the substance.

Thus we have instances in which the three are made the three parts of one being, or substance; as in man, – spirit, soul, body; thought, affection, will; head, heart, hand.

One Being with three distinct faculties is Tritheism: one Being acting in three directions is Sabellianism.” [3]

Sir Isaac Newton rejected the Trinity

Sir Isaac Newton’s Crusade Against the Trinitarian cult

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Already in the 1600s, Christian intellectuals that inspected the Trinitarian theology rebelled against it. The brilliant mathematician Sir Isaac Newton* was vehemently against the invented cult of Trinitarianism. He was an avid believer in the worship of the ONE absolute God. Celebrated author and historian (former nun and Christian) Karen Armstrong seems to agree with Newton’s views.

“Like Descartes, Newton had no time for mystery, which he equated with ignorance and superstition. He was anxious to purge Christianity of the miraculous, even if that brought him into conflict with such crucial doctrines as the divinity of Christ. During the 1670s he began a serious theological study of the doctrine of the Trinity and came to the conclusion that it had been foisted on the Church by Athanasius in a specious bid for pagan converts. Arius had been right: Jesus Christ had certainly not been God and those passages of the New Testament that were used to ‘prove’ the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation were spurious. Athanasius and his colleagues had forged them and added them to the canon of scripture, thus appealing to the base, primitive fantasies of the masses: ‘Tis the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries, & for that reason to like best what they understand least.’ To expunge this mumbo-jumbo from the Christian faith became something of an obsession for Newton. In the early 1680’s, shortly before publishing the Principia, Newton began work on a treatise which he called The Philosophical Origins of Gentile Theology.This argued that Noah had founded the primordial religion — a Gentile theology — which had been free of superstition and had advocated a rational worship of one God… Later generations had corrupted this pure religion, with takes of miracles and marvels. Some had fallen back into idolatry and superstition. Yet God had sent a succession of prophets to put them back on course… Jesus had been one of these prophets sent to call mankind back to the truth but his pure religion had been corrupted by Athanasius and his cohorts. The book of Revelation had prophesied the rise of Trinitariansm — ‘this strange religion of ye West’, ‘the cult of three equal Gods’ — as the abomination of desolation.” [1]

Similarly, Historian of Science and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Richard Westfall writes:

“In the Origenes Newton demoted Christ even from the semidive status Arianism accorded Him. He was merely one more prophet, who came to restore the true religion after mankind’s innate propensity for idolatry had corrupted it. Trinitarianism, the worship of a man as God, had in its turn repeated the pattern of idolatry. The “Christian religion was not more true” than the religion of the children of Noah, he stated, “and did not become less corrupted.”

…Trinitarianism was built on superstition in his view. Athansius had deliberately contrived it for the easy conversion of the heathens “by bringing into it as much of ye heathen superstition as the name of Christianity would then bear.”” [2]

Even if Jesus may well be addressed as “God” says Newton, that in no way means that he is of Divine origin as the Father. Echoing Armstrong and Westfall, Senior Minister of the Bonhomme Presbyterian Church Dr. Tom Pfizenmaier writes:

“Ultimately it is the Father, and the Father alone, in whom all worship terminates. Even the traditional understanding of the intermediary role of the Son is somewhat diminished in Newton’s scheme, especially in articles nine and ten. There we find that while we may call Jesus “God” without transgressing the first commandment, he is not to be worshiped as “God Almighty,” but only in relationship to his office as Monarch: as “lord, the Messiah, the Great King, and the Lamb of God.” Christ is not worshiped on the basis of his ontology according to Newton’s theology, but on the basis of his christological office. Newton could not abide worship grounded in the traditional understanding of consubstantiality, which he believed to be based in philosophy, not in scripture, and referred to it as “this strange religion of ye west,” and “the cult of three equal Gods.”” [3]

Christian scholars have begun to accept Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Was Muhammad s.a.w. a true Prophet of God? Find out what some major Christian academics and scholars have said in answer to this question.

By Ibn Anwar BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Many articles have been written, produced and promoted to show the many good words of past and present scholars and lay persons of the non-Muslim communities that have sang gleaming words of praise to our noble Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. I have always found these quotations fascinating and they assure us that not everyone is opposed to our faith. However, what many Muslims and non-Muslims have been kept in dark about is that many non-Muslim scholars have gone beyond simply giving words of tribute to the prophet of Islam, but they have even gladly and strongly call for the recognition of his prophethood. With the scant information on this in mind, I decided to write a most comprehensive article about it. Complete with explanatory notes, I hope that the content of the article may in some way fill the void of non-Muslims’ recognition of our good prophet’s messengership.

More than a thousand years ago, the Assyrian Patriarch Timothy was asked by the ruler of the ‘Abbasid empire as to why he wouldn’t recognise the prophet of Muhammad s.a.w. and in reply to this he essentially said that Muhammad s.a.w. was indeed among the brotherhood of prophetic dispensation.

“…In the eighth and ninth century, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi asked this question of the Assyrian patriarch, Timothy, in his meeting with him, and Timothy answered saying “He [Muhammad] walked in the path of the prophets.” [1]

And many years later, in a French work called ‘Ces Ecritures qui nous questionnent: les Bible et le Coran’ by the Muslim-Christian Research Group, many favourable views towards Islam are cited, one of which is the view of the Catholic archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Tarancon, who was then the president of the Spanish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. In his inaugural lecture to the Second Christian-Muslim Conference of Cordoba in March of 1977, he “called on Christians to recognize Muhammad’s prophetic tone, especially his faith in one God and his thirst for justice.” [2]

This wonderful book also mentions Protestant scholars W. Cantwell Smith and Watt Montgommery (whom we shall see later) as essentially agreeing with Cardinal Tarancon’s stance on Muhammad s.a.w. He then cites the eminent Anglican scholar, Bishop Kenneth Cragg who, in his ‘Muhammad and the Christian: A Question of Response’, “calls on Christians to recognize without quibbling that Muhammad was really a prophet while still insisting that Jesus was “more than a prophet.”” [3]

Perhaps no Western academic was more vociferous is his profuse affirmation of Muhammad’s s.a.w. prophethood than Dr. William Montgommery Watt, who was a historian of Scottish descent and Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic studies at Edinburgh University. Watt encouraged his Christian brethren to carefully consider the revelation that Muhammad s.a.w. received and upon closer and unbiased scrutiny, one may well come to the affirmation that he was a true claimant of prophethood. In ‘Islam and Christianity Today’ he writes:

“A religious community developed, claiming to serve God, numbering some thousands in Muhammad’s lifetime, and now having several hundred million members. The quality of life in this community has been on the whole satisfactory for the saintliness of life, and countless ordinary people have been enabled to live decent and moderately happy lives in difficult circumstances. These points lead to the conclusion that the view of reality presented in the Qur’an is true and from God, and that therefore Muhammad is a genuine prophet.“ [4]

James White’s Quadratheism* cult

The world heavyweight Trinitarian Evangelist James R. White has shown himself to be a worshipper of polytheism. In fact, in his book ‘The Forgotten Trinity’, he unwittingly reveals to his readers that he has advanced from three gods to FOUR gods; therefore, making him the promulgator of a new cult: White’s Quadratheism (the FOUR Gods religion)

Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

In this very unique, one of a kind, custom-made graphical illustration of James White’s new cult, we vividly show how he has deviated from Monotheism to Tritheism and finally, to Quadratheism. In dissecting this newly innovated cult, we discover that he, none the wiser, worships a pantheon of four gods.

James R. White's Quadratheism by Ibn Anwar (2016). James White's cult of Quadratheism. Kuala Lumpur: Unveiling Christianity.

James R. White’s Quadratheism  (Ibn Anwar (2016). James White’s Quadratheism cult. Kuala Lumpur: Unveiling Christianity)

 

We beckon all those that wish to be true monotheists to hearken to the simple message of One God as preached by the historical Jesus in Mark 12:29: “The most important commandment of all is the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE.”

There was never a “ONE what and THREE who’s” which makes a “FOUR who what????” Such confusion can never be traced to the noble and pure monotheistic ministry of Jesus. Let us not confound our theology with the strange mumbo jumbo of “what who who who”, but let us proclaim in concert with Jesus, “You (the Father) are the ONLY TRUE God…” (ton monon aleithenon theon; John 17:3)

If I may paraphrase the Unitarian scholar and theologian Professor (Dr.) Sir Anthony F. Buzzard who tirelessly calls his Trinitarian cousins to “return to the simple creed of Jesus — the utter belief in One God, no more no less.” [1]

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15) Our master Jesus Christ had a great love for children. In this rather revealing verse, he tells us that we have to be like a little child to be admitted into God’s Kingdom. What this means as far as I can see is that we have to be innocent as a child for God to bestow His mercy upon us and let us into His Kingdom. And I have a hundred percent confidence that if you were to show a child that has developed rudimentary arithmetic skills the diagram that I have prepared of White’s Quadratheism, he will unequivocally say, “FOUR gods.” No child can ever process and understand the convoluted non-Biblical, non-Qur’anic, non-Abrahamic the colourful different formulations of the Trinity that any Trinitarian theologian of any age can and have proposed. In all of these formulations, the innocent child will inevitably see more than one. I truly am confident insofar that the child’s rational faculties have not been compromised by brainwashing or retardation with pristine arithmetic skills, he will never see three as one at any time and in any universe. Become a child and embrace Jesus’ monotheistic faith and happily leave behind the ancestral confusions of the past. No amount of Trinitarian sophistry can move a child to see White’s Quadratheism as monotheism.

Let us all monotheists come together in a concerted effort to proclaim the pure ONENESS of God and completely disclaim blasphemous heresies that create graven images before His Majesty.

 

Notes:

[1]  Buzzard, A. F. (2007). Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian: A Call to Return to the Creed of Jesus. Morrow, Georgia: Restoration Fellowship. pp. 48-49

* This term does not exist in the English language. I have coined it to capture the essence of James White’s new polytheistic cult and what is more fitting for a new version of Christian polytheism than a beautiful word that encapsulates its dimensions? The term Quadratheism was chosen as it comes from two parts: “quad” has its origins in Latin and essentially means “four” like the word quadruple and “theism” comes from the Greek word “theos” (God), therefore, the merging of the two gives a sort of newly coined compound noun “Quadratheism” which means “FOUR gods”. This is in opposition to monotheism which comes from the Greek “monos” (one) and “theism (God) and when put together, the meaning becomes “ONE God”. Typically, the prefix for four that is derived from Latin is “qaudri”, but in the author’s view the articulate “Quadritheism” is not as appealing as “Quadratheism”. In any case, there are instances of ‘quadra’ used as a prefix in several words, e.g., “quadrangular” (having four corners) and “quadragesima” (the fortieth).

The substitutionary hypothesis is not an obligatory article of faith in Sunni Islam

Sunni Muslims are not obliged to believe that Jesus’ alleged crucifixion was vicariously experienced by another through some odd divine ruse
by Ibn Anwar BHsc (Hons), MCollT
 
Traditionally, many exegetes of the Qur’an have maintained the substitutionary hypothesis, i.e., Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion and death was experienced by another person that bore Jesus’ semblance. It is unfortunate that this idea has persisted and remain strongly entrenched among Muslims, even to this day. It is unfortunate because many of these Muslims simply accept the gist of the story and are cut off from the sources as they themselves lack the skills or ability to assess the evidence and come to a reasonable conclusion as to whether the position is worth preserving or not.
 
In this brief exposition on the subject, we shall reveal to our readers that the matter is not as black and white as some might make it out to be. The issue is rather complex and one shall find that it is not a must to believe in the hypothesis to remain within the good graces of the faith. The substitution hypothesis is of course an attempt to understand the Qur’anic denial of Jesus’ crucifixion, which occurs uniquely in Surah al-Nisa’, verse 157, “and their boast, “Behold, we have slain the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, [who claimed to be] an apostle of God!” However, they did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them [as if it had been] so;” This so happens to be one of the verses in the Qur’an that the noble Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. left unexplained. In light of this, any person who so desire to venture forth to try an provide a “tafsir” (explanation) for the verse should not do so lightly. One should not be so presumptuous as to be so certain as to the real meaning of the verse above without guidance from the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. who is of course, the ultimate expounder of the Qur’an.
 
And we need not fret if this verse happens to fall under the category of “unsolved mysteries” as it has absolutely no bearing on the fundamentals of our faith. Whether Jesus Christ actually died on the cross or wherever else is within God’s purview and since we know all life shall have a taste of death (3:185), if he did indeed die (in whatever fashion) then he has fulfilled God’s covenant with humanity’s mortality. The promise of the Qur’an is proven true: those that differ and argue concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, even amongst the Christians, are full of doubt and conjecture without certain knowledge of the matter: “and, verily, those who hold conflicting views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not slay him:” (4:158)
 
As stated above, no tradition about the crucifixion can be traced back to the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Much research has been poured into this point by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike and the results have proved disappointing for those that subscribe to the traditions in question. This point is noted by the scholar Todd Lawson in his detailed treatise on the crucifixion in the Qur’an:
 
“…no hadith about the crucifixion has been found to go all the way back to Muhammad.” [1] 

Was Jesus Really Almighty God?

Was Jesus ever thought of as God by the earliest strata of evidence or traditions that we have of him? A brief treatise.

by Ibn Anwar BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The most eminent theologian and New Testament scholar Father Raymond Brown writes: “The slow development of the usage of the title “God” for Jesus requires explanation. Not only is there the factor that Jesus is not called God in the earlier strata of NT material; but also there are passages, cited under A above, that by implication reserve the title “God” for the Father (even in the Pastorals and the Johannine literature). The most plausible explanation is that in the earliest stage of Christianity, the OT heritage dominated the use of “God”; hence “God” was a title too narrow to be applied to Jesus. It referred strictly to the One in heaven whom Jesus addressed as Father and to whom he prayed.” [1]

And even if Jesus is seen to be called “God” in some rare instances in the New Testament, this has to be understood within the milieu of Jewish thought. He was “god” insofar that he represented or mirrored the divine reality. He was the manifestation of God’s power on earth. He was God’s agent, His ‘shaliach.’ This good point is well noted by Prof. Raymond Brown as he writes, “The liturgical ambiance of the NT usage of “God” for Jesus also answers the objection that this title is too much of a metaphysical definition that objectifies Jesus and is untrue to the soteriological interest of the NT. As far as I can see, none of the eight instances we have discussed attempts to define Jesus metaphysically. The acclamation of Jesus as God is a response of prayer and worship to the God revealed in Jesus.” [2]

Dismantling the Trinitarian perception of John 1:1

A fresh new look at John 1:1 from a fresh new translation of the whole New Testament by the eminent scholar, Prof. Sir (Dr.) Anthony F. Buzzard.

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The following traditional rendering of the beginning of the Johannine Prologue comes from the New King James Version.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

These words are most probably regarded as the most profound words ever spoken by the anonymous New Testament author of the fourth gospel (that we conveniently dub “John”) that Trinitarians are most excited by, because they see in this verse the full revelation of Jesus’ divinity and his second personhood in the Trinity.

The most obvious stumbling block for the Trinitarian interpretation is that the verse, as any ordinary person can see, does not actually say that the “word” is Jesus Christ. This good point is emphatically noted by Trinitarian systematic theologian at Fuller Theological Seminary Dr. Colin Brown. Commenting on John 1:1, he writes:
“It is a common but patent misreading of the opening of John’s Gospel to read it as if it said: “In the beginning was the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was God” (John 1:1).” [1]

Over 50 translations of the Bible as noted by Buzzard do not presume that John 1:1 speaks of a second person in a Triune Godhead. [2] So he is clearly not a lone wolf in his view that the ‘logos’ in John 1:1 is the mind or the plan of God rather than a being or an entity existing pre-eternally with the Father as Jesus, the Son.

“For 50 translations which did not assume that logos was a second Person, see Focus on the Kingdom of July, 2004, at restorationfellowship.org. These translations give us the pronoun “it”, not “he” for word.”

The ordained Anglican priest and Cambridge theologian, Prof. Cupitt writes:
“John’s words ought to be retranslated: “The Word was with God the Father and the Word was the Father’s own Word,” to stress that the Word is not an independent divine being, but is the only God’s own self-expression. If all this is correct, then even John’s language about Jesus still falls within the scope of the King-ambassador model.” [3]