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17. Understanding Islam

13.3. Objections to the Trinity

The third objection we will look at is the objection to the Trinity. Although Muslims object to the concept of the Christian trinity, the Qur’an and Hadith object to something else. The Qur’an accuses Christians of worshipping two gods, Jesus and Mary apart from Allah (Qur’an 5:116-117), or three gods (Qur’an 5:73, 4:171). Even modern day Muslims, when they talk about the trinity, claim that Christianity teaches God is three persons in one person. Here is how one Muslim apologist puts it:

“According to the Catechism of the Christian Church, ‘The Father is a person, the Son is a person, and the Holy Ghost is a person; but they are not three persons but one person’.” (Dr. Zakir Naik, The concept of Trinity!! - lecture given 2012).

However, as every Christian knows, there isn’t a single Christian Catechism that says that; rather Christians say God is three persons in one “substance” or nature. Christians never said the three persons are one person, rather the One being is three persons.

As humans we have no right, authority, or ability to tell God who he is, only God has the right, authority, and the knowledge to tell us who He is. So we have to take the word of God as our authority to tell us who God is. In the Bible from the very beginning God is presented as one God:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29).

This doctrine is foundational to Christianity and the Bible insists on it. The apostle Paul says:

“since God is one ‒ who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (Romans 3:30),


“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

At the same time the Bible doesn’t present this oneness as a simple oneness but rather a unified one. The verse in Deuteronomy uses the word Echad “אֶחָֽד”. This word in the Bible is used often to mean “unified” as in Genesis 2:24 “they shall become one flesh”, Genesis 11:6 “One group”, Exodus 36:13 “Unit”, Exodus 23:29 “one year” etc. There is another word in Hebrew which means one: yachid “יָחִיד”. This word always means an absolute numeric one as in Judges 11:34 “one and only child,” and Proverbs 4:3 “only child.” This word is never used to refer to God anywhere in the Bible.

What does the Bible say about the three persons of God then?

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