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Son of God

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?
in response to reader comment: VERY CHRISTIAN FOR YOU

Submitted by Rajesh (India), Apr 23, 2011 at 15:22

Dear Khalil,

When the Koran speaks about Allah, it uses the pronouns he and his and him. The Koran according to the Muslims is the complete, perfect, and uncorrupted final revelation of God. So according to the Muslim line of reasoning, this means that Allah is a male, that is, someone with a penis and two testicles! May be this is why Allah promises great sex in Muslim heaven for Muslims!!!

I think the main problem with understanding the concept of the Trinity is that people just cannot free themselves from the limitations the human language imposes and drag down God and the things of God to the level of human beings, and not rise up to the level of the infinite. God is beyond all categories; and yet when we talk about Him, we use models drawn from our experience, and these are inevitably inadequate for the purpose.

Now let us follow the Christian line of reasoning on the use of the word "Son of God. " The Catechism of the Catholic Church para 101 says: In order to reveal Himself to men, in the condescension of His goodness God speaks to them in human words. Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of men, are in every way like the human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when He took on Himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men.

Since we are finite mortal beings, our language is also finite and incapable of expressing completely divine realities that are infinite and without limits. Jesus is called Son Of God for want of a better term that would convey to people that He is as the Nicene Creed says: God from God, Light from Light, and true God from true God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father.

God is spirit as the Bible says. God is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. He is the First Cause, the self-existent being; He is without change or alteration. He is simple in His infinity and infinite in His simplicity. He is without admixture. He is without limits. He is supreme Goodness. He cannot will that which is evil. He is Life without death, Truth without falsehood, light without darkness. God is unique; there are no other gods besides Him. He transcends the world and history. In God, there is no variation or shadow due to change. God is "He Who Is" from everlasting to everlasting. God is the fullness of being and perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive what they are and have from Him, but He alone is His very being, and He is of Himself everything that He is.

The Gospel of St John begins: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All that was made was made through him. Nothing was made that was made without him. In Him was life and this life was the light of men.

God is eternal, meaning he exists in timelessness or beyond time. There was never a moment when He was what He was not and there will never be a moment when He will be what he is not; He is without change. When God "thinks," (to put it in human language, not meaning that he has a head like us) He does not think like us. We think one thought, then another, then another, and our words and thoughts like us are finite and disappear with time. But God being beyond time and unchangeable thinks only one Thought or one Word and that Word reaches the very depths of all that is, was, and is to come. It contains all wisdom, knowledge, power, the past, the present, the future, in short everything. It is the complete wisdom and knowledge of God; only God can know everything about Himself. This Word being God's Word, that is proceeding from within Him, or as the church teaches begotten not made, is like God, infinite, without limits, all powerful, everlasting, transcendent, being of the same nature as God, therefore being God, and coming from God who is Life is also a living person. If we say that this Word has a different nature than God and is not God, we would be guilty of introducing in God, something that is not God, which is blasmephmy, of pulling Him down to our level. God is God completely, totally, and absolutely; being spirit every part is of the same nature as the whole. There was never a moment when God was without His Word and there will never be a moment when God will be without His Word. This Word we call the Son who as the Bible teaches us is one with the Father. Jesus says "I and the Father are one. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in para 239 says: By calling God "Father," the language of faith indicates two main things: That God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's paternal tenderness can also be expressed in the image of motherhood, which emphasizes immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman. He is God. He transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their standard: no one is father as God is Father.

Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard of sense: He is father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his father. "No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word; in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; as the image of the invisible God, as the radiance of the glory of the Father and the very stamp of his nature.

The Spirit or ruha, the breath of God, is the love between God and His Word, or in human language, the love of the Father for the Son and the love of the Son for the Father; and this love being infinite, eternal, unchanging, since it is God's love and proceeding and coming from within God who is Life, is also a person who is completely God, of one nature with the Father and the Son.

The Papal Preacher explains this thus: The Living God of the Christians, in a word, is no other than the Living Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is contained in nuce in the revelation of God as love. To say God is Love (1 John 4:8) is to say: God is a Trinity. St Augustine explains the matter thus: Every love implies a lover, a beloved, and the love uniting them (By the way Khalil just in case you misunderstand we are talking of love, that is something that comes from the heart, from the deepest part of one's being, not of something that comes from the penis or clitoris). We know that every love is a love of someone or something; there is no such thing as love in vacuo, without an object. Now, whom did God love for Him to be defined as love? Human beings? But then, this love only dates back some hundred million years. The universe? But then this love only dates back a few tens of billions. What about before then? Whom did God love, for Him to be Love.

By conceiving God primarily as thought, the Greek thinkers and generally speaking religious philosophises of every age have given their answer: God thought himself; he was pure thought. But this is no longer acceptable once we say God is primarily love, since pure love of himself would be pure egoism which is not the raising of love to the highest degree but the total negation of it . And here is revelation's answer, as made explicit by the Church, God is love from the beginning, ab aeterno, for even before there existed any object outside himself for him to love, he had within him the Word, the Son, whom he loved with an infinite love, that is to say, in the "Holy Spirit."

This does not explain "how" unity can simultaneously be trinity (for us, an impenetrable mystery since occurring only in God), but it is enough at least for us to intuit why, in God, unity has also to be plurality, has also to be trinity. It is because God is Love. A God who is pure knowledge, or pure law, or pure power would certainly not need to be threefold for this would enormously complicate matters. But a God who is Love above all, yes, He would, since between less than two, love cannot be.

In conclusion, there is a story from the life of St Augustine. One day St. Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. Then he saw a boy in front of him who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, "What are you doing?" "I'm going to pour the entire ocean into this hole." "That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made" said St. Augustine. The boy replied, "And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain." The story concludes by saying that the boy vanished as St. Augustine had been talking to an angel.

Regards,

Rajesh

Though it is true I can't drink all the water in a river, must I, because of this so, die of thirst? Going into a garden, even though I can't eat all the fruit inside, does this mean I must go away as hungry as before (St Cyril of Jerusalem)

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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