The following is a guest post written by Royalson in response to Paul Williams and a unitarian who frequents Williams' blog. Enjoy!
The scriptures testify to the truth of the Word of God. God has spoken, and His revelation is our sure foundation for knowledge of God, the purpose of God, and the creation which He framed by His Word (Genesis 1;John 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16;Hebrews 1:1-2). When God speaks, His believers hear His voice (John 10:27) and confirm His truth (Psalms 33:4). We are not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
It is thus a curious thing, to have witnessed on Paul Williams blog the hand-holding between a professing Christian Unitarian and Muslim Nullitarians, the former believing that God is a single person and the latter believing that God is no person at all. It is ironic that both parties would congratulate and affirm each others' "defense" of their allegedly common position of Monotheism. In reality, their own worldviews collide at the very heart of the matter for which they attempt to collectively unite, which is against the biblical concept of the Divine Trinity. How is it that a "Christian unitarian" finds common ground with those who believe in an impersonal conglomeration of disjointed attributes? Obviously, not to mention quite tellingly, it is their common antipathy for the Trinity that unites them. This isn’t the first time unlikely partners have hopped in bed together. Perhaps it would not be too far a stretch to draw a parallel between those who collectively built a tower in the land of Babel to rebel against God, and our apologetic opponents who are collectively attacking the Trinity as we have witnessed on Blogging Theology. Or, as John Owen once said of the otherwise odd collaborative effort on the part of disparate anti-Trinitarian groups in his day:
For however they may seem in sundry things as yet to look diverse ways, yet, like Samson’s foxes, they are knit together by the tail of consent in these fire-brand opinions, and jointly endeavor to consume the standing corn of the church of God. (John Owen, A Brief Declaration and Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 7.)
For those entering into the discussion for the first time, it would be appropriate to preface my biblical defense by summarizing some of the key issues that have arisen in the dialogue thus far. Without wishing to appeal to arguments that focus upon the persons themselves who are making the arguments, it is nevertheless important to understand the inconsistent and irrational approach that my opponents utilize. Alerting the reader to such information will enable the identification of irrational argumentation on their part throughout the discussion. Too often, theological debate can appear to be "locked in the balance" as each side appears to be able to rebut the previous argument. However, if we understand the presuppositions that are committed to, and the criterion applied to in the arguments made, we shall easily spot the flaws and inconsistencies when the said opponents depart from these presuppositions and criterion.
A Muslim Attempts to Teach Math
Enter Paul Williams, Blog Author of bloggingtheology.org, a Muslim apologist and professing ex-Christian. Among his attacks upon the Trinity, Paul Williams makes a numerical argument. Plainly stated, that if the Father is 100% God, the Son is 100% God and the Holy Spirit is 100% God, that it adds up to 300% God which equates to 3 Gods, i.e. Tritheism.
Without conceding to his erroneous reasoning, which I will refute shortly, let us consider the flawed mathematical approach and see how His own theology stands up to it. Firstly, Paul Williams believes that Allah has multiple attributes. Those attributes are Divine (God) by nature. In fact, Paul would consider each attribute to be fully divine in nature. That is to say, they are not partially Divine and partially human attributes. As an example, Allah's mercy, Paul would argue is Divine mercy, unlike any mercy that creatures possess. It is 100% Divine, 100% God in nature. Likewise for Allah's righteousness, and goodness, and truth, etc. For arguments sake, let us suppose that Paul believes that Allah has 99 attributes. By his own reasoning, that would suppose 9900% God = 99 gods.
Not wanting Paul Williams to feel left out, I'm going to apply the same reasoning to Paul Williams Himself. Since Paul believes he has a body which is 100% human, a soul which is 100% human and a spirit which is 100% human, by Paul's own reasoning, he believes that he himself is 300% human or 3 humans. Unless of course, he takes a bipartite view of man, it would nevertheless lead to the idea that he is 200% human or 2 humans.
Before one wishes to accuse me of employing the "Tu-Quoque" or "You too" fallacy, I remind the reader that I already rejected the erroneous reasoning on Paul Williams' part. But since he seems to think it is valid to apply percentages to the constituents of God, then he is inescapably caught in this numerical dilemma, posing a problem that is 33 times more problematic for his own position than that which He falsely asserts upon the Trinity.
As for a refutation of the notion that such percentages ought to be applied cumulatively to the Christian God, a simple statement will suffice: "The Father is the same God as the Son and the Holy Spirit" In other words, if one did wish to apply a 100% to the Father, then that same 100% applies to the Son and the Holy Spirit, not because they are the same person but because they are the same God. Remember, Paul said the Father is 100% God. In saying that the Son is 100% God, He erroneously assumes that this must be a different 100% from the Father. His equation is thus a straw-man and does nothing to interact with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
When the Math lesson fails, why not try Philosophy?
Our examination of Paul Williams' presuppositions, although not intended to be exhaustive by any means, still has further important ground to cover. Added to his presuppositional blunders is his commitment to the notion that God cannot enter into His own creation. He writes: "Jesus was simultaneously divinely omniscient humanly ignorant... yet the creeds say Jesus is ‘one person’. How can one person know all things and be ignorant?" Mr. Williams ignorantly asks, "How can one person know all things and be ignorant?" Such questions have been thoroughly answered repeatedly throughout the centuries and to this very day by my fellow Christian brethren.
Simply put, Jesus Christ is eternally God by nature and does not change in His Divine essence. However, in time, He entered into His creation, taking created human nature upon Himself. His human nature did not become His divine nature, nor did His divine nature become His human nature. The two natures existed and indeed exist to this very day, united but distinguishable, each preserved without forming a third composite nature. That being said, there ought to be absolutely no argument that God demonstrates different behaviors and characteristics between the two natures. The question de jour I would ask the Muslims is - Supposing that God entered into human nature economically, how would you expect the two natures to operate? To expect the human nature to have no function would be irrational. To expect it to behave identically to the Divine nature would be blasphemous. The only rational position is that the natures present would behave exactly as they ought, and that is precisely what we see in the gospel accounts.
If you're going to try and attack Satan, at least take your stones outside
Muslims such as Paul Williams who attempt to attack the Trinity are throwing stones in their own glass houses. Oblivious to the mess and sharp edges that pile underfoot, they inflict the sorest of wounds upon Allah Himself. In Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1656 we read: " Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him?" (Emphasis mine).
The reader will notice immediately that Allah himself is said to enter His creation. This is not simply a one-off event like the incarnation, but something Allah is all too acquainted with, doing it every single night. Aside from the fact that Allah descending every last third part of the night presupposes either a flat earth or Allah in a constant state of descension, or that he does so in order to find out who will supplicate Him, implying actual ignorance on His part, we must ask the following crucial question: "Does Allah's nature change when He enters into the universe to descend to the nearest heaven?" The answer is obvious, one may say. I would agree, but for the muslim, if consistency is to win the day, they must answer in the affirmative. Since they presuppose that the God of the bible must have changed His actual Divine essence due to His entering into created human flesh, fairness demands that Allah's actual nature is compromised when entering the created universe. For the record, I completely reject the fallacious and baseless presupposition of Williams, et al. Muslims, do yourselves a favor and get a broom, clean up the mess, and put on a plaster.
To summarize my points thus far, Mr. Williams employs presuppositions that are not only irrational and unwarranted, but actually cut off the aorta of the Islamic apologetic itself. Forcing unwarranted percentage additions to the internal persons of the one true God infers polytheism on the part of Islam due to the internal attributes of Allah. Firing the magic bullet of insisting that God entering into creation compromises His Divine nature, ends up returning a storm of bullets upon Allah, the ever-descending one who appears to have left His heavenly throne vacant until further notice.
Wooden arguments and elastic aeroplanes
While more could be mentioned of Mr. Williams other presuppositional blunders, we now turn our attention to David the Unitarian. Like clumsy room service, who leaves the occupant's 5 star Singapore hotel suite in a worse state than a dog's breakfast, and the bumbling customer who continues to slip a few bills in the hand for further "services", Paul Williams and David the Unitarian make strange bed-fellows indeed. The former, a nullitarian Muslim who submits to an impersonal force, is all too eager to shake left hands with David who actually believes that God is a person. Somehow, in the ecstasy of anti-trinitarian sweet-talking, a mushrik and a Muslim are a match made in Jannah, or so they thought. We shall see that David the Unitarian's blasphemy and unbridled rebellion against God, clearly demonstrates that seeing, he does not see and hearing he does not hear.
David the Unitarian complains "I have noted above how slippery trinitarian definition is.
1) God is one Being Ö The three Persons share the one Being Ö etc.
2) “is God” slides between numerical and generic identity.
3) “Person” is such an elastic concept you could use it to power a model aeroplane!
I hope you will excuse this little outburst, when I read such words as
ìAs we believe God is singular, and pluralî
While I accept David's complement of our position having the ability to power model aeroplanes, I'm afraid I cannot reciprocate. His theological position has as much power as a wooden car that wooden go. He insists that the concept of God being plural in one sense and singular in another is too slippery. However, he didn't really think this through very carefully, since such insistence leads to an absurd conclusion, that his theology supposes God to be singular in every sense. In other words: God is one being, one person, with only one attribute. So now it'll be up to David to tell us which attribute that would be: If his God is eternal, then he is most certainly not omniscient (for that already would be two attributes). If his God is omnipresent, then he is not omnipotent. Any objection of David at this point will force him to either recant on his erroneous claim that God cannot be singular and plural, or he would have to shrug his shoulders and concede that his position is no more rational than ours. I reject his claim as fallacious and look forward to him conceding the same.
We note also that He doesn't like how the term God is [grammatically] used in different senses, or as David claims, "slides" between numeric identity and generic identity. This however, is likewise an unjustified objection. For example, suppose we were to write the following sentences:
To err is human (generic).
David is a human (numeric).
The first sentence uses "human" in a generic way, pointing to human nature. The second sentence uses "human" in a numeric way. It would be absurd to state that erring is the same is a human. Likewise, it would be equally absurd to say that David is a human nature.
Let's look at some sentences using God:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.
Here we see that God is used in a numeric sense in the second clause, and in a generic sense in the third clause.
Galatians 4:8 encapsulates the idea of numeric and generic senses by which one may refer to God:
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
In the first clause it speaks of God numerically. In the second clause, although one could argue that a numerical sense is used explicitly by way of using plural nouns, the implication is more generic by attaching the phrase "by nature".
As a matter of fact, the term God (not gods) is used in conjunction with nature explicitly in Acts 17:29 which reads: 29 "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. (NASB). In this English translation we can see the term God being used in a numeric sense whereas we have Divine Nature as a more generic term. The Greek word theos is used in the former and theios is used in the latter. The same word theios appears in 2 Peter 2:4 which reads: "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine (theios) nature (phusis), having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. "In both cases, the word theios functions as an adjective (divine). In 2 Peter 2:4 it modifies the word phusis (nature).
Taking this into consideration, we may speak of God in both senses in this way: Jesus is the son of God (Matthew 16:16-17) and is God by nature (John 1:1).
David also does not like to our use of the term person, saying that it's so elastic it could power a model airplane. What he's basically saying is that he doesn't like how person can have a range of meanings. He prefers to have a wooden definition of words, without allowing for nuances and semantic differences. Such a claim is absurd, and I demonstrate this with some example sentences below:
Some people like to make baseless arguments.
Some people's arguments are like wooden cars that wooden go.
David holds to unitarianism, so he needs to repent.
David's arguments are so ridiculous, it's a wonder that he has 5 degrees.
I wonder if I'll ever debate David in person.
Allah is an “it”, not a person.
The fact of the matter is that David cannot live without the elasticity of language. Any claims to the contrary result in absurdity. (It should also be pointed out that David confuses grammar with ontology.)
To probe David's Unitarian heresies a little further, I asked "Can a mere creature be the exact representation of God?" To which he replied, "Yes I believe a human being can be (but not anything else in creation), because we are made in God’s image. I believe that Jesus was anointed and filled by the Holy Spirit, so that he spoke God’s words and showed God’s love." and "Mind you, the exact copy of God (Heb 1:3) cannot be God, can it? The copy of anything is NEVER the same as the original. That is the point of copies, they serve to represent the original, where the original cannot or will not go." (Emphasis mine)
According to David, an exact copy is never the same as the original. Something tells me David is locked out of his house because the locksmith who promised to copy his key exactly, gave him a dud instead.
Now if Jesus is an "exact copy" of God, we would expect Him to be exactly the same in nature as what God is. In other words:
Biblical Jesus: omniscient
David's Jesus: not omniscient
Biblical Jesus: omnipotent
David's Jesus: not omnipotent
Biblical Jesus: omnipresent
David's Jesus: not omnipresent
Biblical Jesus: transcendent
David's Jesus: not transcendent
Biblical Jesus: eternal
David's Jesus: not eternal
God: perfectly righteous
Biblical Jesus: perfectly righteous
David's Jesus: not perfectly righteous
Somehow, David expects us to believe that his Jesus is an exact copy of God. The mind boggles.
I'd like to focus on the last section of comparisons above, namely the righteousness of God and Christ respectively. Jesus says "Why do you call Me good? There is none who is good but God." Muslims often try to use this statement of Jesus to prove that Jesus was not perfect. While this argument has been answered and refuted countless times, David himself has no way out. You see, David would have to agree along with the Muslims that Jesus "is not good" If Jesus is not good (even though somehow he's an exact copy of God who is good), then it would make David's Jesus imperfect in his righteousness. It would be ridiculous for David to claim that Jesus is not good and yet perfectly righteous. And so, we come to the heart of the gospel itself, demonstrating why Christian Unitarianism is a complete farce. It makes Jesus into an imperfect sacrifice.
Let us compare:
David's Jesus is a finite creature who is an imperfect sacrifice.
The Biblical Jesus is God and man, a perfectly righteous sacrifice.
Who will you trust your soul to? A finite, imperfect creature? Or to God, manifested in the flesh?
Unitarianism is dead.
Nullitarianism is dead.
I would venture to say that David's unitarianism is actually not unitarianism at all. Although initially it appeared that he was arguing for the rational idea of God being unipersonal as opposed to tri-personal, he in fact doesn't like the term person at all. Since the term person is too elastic for him and he prefers a more wooden description for his god, I can only warn him to stop worshiping his wooden idol which cannot see, speak, hear or save. David's unitarianism is in fact nullitarianism, just like Paul Williams’ personless Islamic nullitarianism. Perhaps the two were not such strange bedfellows after all.
I'll give time for Paul and David to repent. In the meantime, I shall prepare my next response which will use the presuppositional platform I have demonstrated and further expose the irrational and blasphemous nature of these two heretics.