Saturday, October 2, 2010

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: The Big Homoousia Debate: Abdullah Al Andalusi and James White Debate The Christian Trinity.

Thegrandverbalizer posted and commented on a recent debate between Dr. James White and Abdullah Al Andalusi regarding whether or not the Bible teaches the Trinity. I decided that it would be worthwhile to work through his comments. It's amazing. After I watched the Debate myself I was left wondering if thegrandverbalizer saw the same debate videos I did. It's interesting to look at it through his eyes. I invite all who reads this to watch the video at the end and then see if their impression is similar to mine or thegrandverbalizer. I italicized his comments and mine are in regular text. Due to the fact that the post will be podcasted, I fixed some spelling and grammar. This post may be revised later.
This was a very engaging debate Abdullah Al Andalusi and James White whom debate one of the many versions of the Trinity. In this debate James White being a Christian offers a Christian model of the Trinity as opposed to a Hindu model of the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).\
Let's be honest. We know...we all know the Trinity we are talking about. It is part of historic Christian doctrine.

I think it is important to mention this because when people talk about 'The Trinity' it makes it sound authoritative as if there is only one. This is an innocent mistake that James White is allowed due to his own ignorance of other faith traditions. To speak of the "The Trinity" is to speak of 'The Country'. For clarification sake a person may well ask which country?

Dr White is not ignorant. When you are talking about historic Christianity there is only one to talk about.
You can see from the outset 6:06 minutes into the debate James White makes a huge blunder in his attack upon the Qur'an. He claims that the Qur'an does not accurately critique or cite the doctrine of the Christian Trinity. This assumes on James White's part that there is an accurate model of the Trinity to critique. It assumes that the Trinity is a correct to begin with. So much of James White' argument can easily be dismantled when one understands this.\
There is an accurate model for the Trinity. It is in the Bible. The word isn't but the concept is - the Old and New Testaments. Even if you dismiss and disagree with the doctrine you can talk about what it teaches accurately. That is definable and James White correctly defined it. There Qur'an does not.
For example that would be like James White saying 'The Qur'an does not give us an accurate description of a three sided circle.' Well this would assume that a thee sided circle is something accurate to begin with. All that is happening is James White is presupposing a doctrine that came about only after much intra-Christian debate which he admits to be revealed only between the Old and the New Testament' to be accurate.
Bad example. The situation is more like the Bible defines a circle. And the grandverbalizer is disagreeing with the definition because he disagrees with the concept based on the idea that the Qur'an gives a different definition and that you don't agree with the definition. Also Dr White was saying that the doctrine of the Trinity is revealed to us through both the Old and New Testament together.

It is troubling that James White would repeat this age old 'argument' first crafted by Samuel Zwelmer and re-used and re-hashed time and again after Muslims have given answer to this.

It reminds one of Dan Barker being corrected on certain points about Bible contradictions only rehashing it 'for a fresh audience'.

Truth is James White keeps using the argument because it is the consistent view of scripture.
Abdullah Kunde has incinerated White's arguments here: You can also see reformed Christian missionary and apologist Ken Temple try and give answer in the comment section.

At 8:19 minutes into the debate James White stabs in the dark trying to give us useful and meaningful definitons of 'being' and 'person'. "Within the one being that is God there exist eternaly there co equal and co eternal persons namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit"

I don't think that Abdullah Al Andalusi managed to destroy Dr White's arguments in the slightest. "Being" and "person" are not the same thing. In finite human beings we are one person in one Being. Why would be limited the same way? I never heard an answer to that question. I mean even in standard English the two are not the same thing. You would not give the same answer to the question "What are you?" that you would give to the question "Who are you?" They are not the same question. Is it strange to think of three persons sharing the same being? Yes, but given that the Bible teaches that the Father is God. The Son is God. and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there is only one God. The Trinity is the only consistent answer.
James White struggles to give meaningful definition to being and personality. I want you people to watch James presentation above and you tell me if he makes 'being' and 'personality' meaningful to you.
Yup. Dr White explained the difference well.
Things that have existence and things that have being. Some are person and some are not. "A rock has being but it is not personal. A cat has being and it might have personality but it's not truly a person in the sense of recognizing it's own existence among catkind or anything like that"

Wow! I know some biologist that would take huge exception to the idea that cats do not recognize their own existence among catkind. What a horrible example! So let me get this straight so far. With in the one God there is something akin to a rock (that has no personality but has existence) while at the same time has three personalities? However unlike the rock God is not limited in his existence.

I would like to name a single biologist that would argue that cat recognize their own existence. James White was not equating God to a rock. The rock was given as an example of what "being" means. God is not limited to being a single eternal person.
James White mentions that he is not back at home in Phoenix Arizona but neither is the rock in his example on the far side of the moon. "God's being is not limited"

I wonder if James White believes that God's being is no limited such that God can communicate his will, power and speech to created things and objects without necessarily being 'In' them?

Come'on. Thegrandverbalizer knows as a Christian James White believeds that God is not limited in anything and most definitely communicate his will, power, and speech to us that is what the Bible is for.
The Trinity (God decided it was best to avoid feminine appellations such as Mother-Daughter and to opt for Father-Son)

God's relationship is masculine relationship. God is described as Father-Son. God is not described as Father-Daughter. God is not described as Mother-Daughter. God is not described as Father-Mother-Son. God is Father-Son and Masculine Holy Spirit (John 16:13).

Difference between Unitarian Monotheist vs Trinitarian Monotheist explained.

This seems like a shallow argument. The same argument can be made about Allah in the Qur'an...unless you wanna argue that Allah is a woman. Nope. I'm sure no one would do that. It's the same regarding the Bible. Gender distinctions regarding God makes no sense. The Father-Son relationship is not a biological description.
However, do note that James White said that he personally comes to the conclusion of the Trinity based upon the belief that the 'whole of the Bible is the word of God'. Now this is important as this statement that James White makes the New Testament was also considered by him as part of God's revelation to humanity. He applies a meaningful standard of interpretation that is consistent from Genesis to Revelation ...when he does this he "comes up with three Biblical truths"

It would be interesting to understand what he means by 'meaningful standard of interpretation'.

This is a very important admission from James White. Keep in mind that he believes that the Trinity was revealed between the Old Tesament and the New Testament. This means when Jesus would have been trained as a Jew to recite "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4 the SHEMA).

Judaism does not have a trinitarian view of the creator. Judaism has a unitarian view of the creator. So one wonders the standard that would have been consistent from Genesis to Malachi.

I'm sure most people would agree that the writer of the Book of John was Jewish. In John 12 it is explicitly said that Isaiah saw Jesus' glory.  Who did Isaiah see in Isaiah 6?  Yahweh! Jesus!

James conclusion on his opening is extremely weak.
1) It assumes that the Trinity is true "Allah would know what a three sided circle is"
Nope. White was arguing the Allah would know what Christians say what the Trinity is - where it was true or not, because Allah was arguing that it was not true.

2) It does not accurately define whom and what a 'true Christian' is as this is a matter of on going intra-Christian debate.
No, What does it matter if Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons or Gnostics disagree? They are not Christians. And I admit during the debate I was  insulted that it kept being brought up that Christians think of Mary as co-redeemer. We don't. Not even all Roman Catholics ascribe to that. Why is it wrong to lump all Muslims into the same camp and think that they all think the same thing  but it's okay to do the same to Christians.

3) It contradictions an earlier statement by James White who says 'no doubt the Qur'an attempts to give a response to Christians'. See how easy it is for James to say this and than turn around and say that only his version of Christianity (reformed theology) is correct?
I have never heard James White argue that reformed theology is the only view one can hold and be right with God. Also the Surahs he quoted definitely seem to counter Christianity. The problem is I don't know of any major Christian church or denomination that views the Trinity as Father,Mary, and Jesus. Also why would thegrandverbalizer try to argue that the Qur'an is not responding to Christians when White's debate opponent attempts to make the point that the Qur'an rebuts the Trinity. I think the Qur'an fails but it does make an attempt.

I would be curious to know what kind of Christians does James White think the Qur'an was giving response to? Curious that James White and others do not attempt to paint a picture of what kind of Christian community existed in Arabia at the time of the Prophet (saw).
Dr. White answered this question before and in this debate. The Qur'an fails to rebut the Trinity because it mis-defines it as Father, Mother, and son. 
Abdullah Al Andalusi makes a good point about the Logos. Basically the Logos is a combination of the Platonic ideas and Stoic universal causality. So God has to create through another agent, I can see how this could be problematic as this agent itself would have to be created.
So hince the concept of John 1:1 and than to say that he (Jesus) was eternally-begotten. Eternally-regenerated. (In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God). It as if the writer has a critique of Genesis 1:1-3.
I disagreed with the discussion of Logos. White answered it. I'm wondering if thegrandverbalizer or Abdullah Al Andalusi understood White's response because Abdullah Al Andalusi didn't explain why White was wrong and neither has thegreatverbalizer.

Abdullah Al Andalusi quotes from Anthansius and Justin Martyr that borrow their views from Greek Philosophy.
White answered this. I'm wondering if thegrandverbalizer or Abdullah Al Andalusi understood White's response because Abdullah Al Andalusi didn't explain why White was wrong and neither has thegreatverbalizer.

Abdullah Al Andalusi shows that the Qur'an understands and refutes the concept that God needs to create 'through' the medium of others.

No one says that the Bible says  God created anything through the medium of others. We argue that Jesus is God. Therefore no one else other that God created anything.

(Holy Qur'an chapter 2:117 )Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! And when He decrees an affair, He says to it only, Be, and it is.

"The similitude of Jesus Before Allah is as that of Adam; He (Allah) created him (Jesus) from dust, Then said to him: Be. And he was." (Holy Qur'an chapter 3:59)

"Thy lord is the cause all causes" (Holy Qur'an)

The Doctrine of the Trinity does not say anyone else other than God created anything therefore the Qur'an agrees. Jesus is God. There is no contradiction. The Bible says that God - Yahweh - created everything. Jesus is Yahweh (John 8:58)  - again, no contradiction.

James White starts off with talking about Phillipians 2:5-7. This is his response to to infinite vs infinite. Notice that James White was quick to brush off the use of the word Kenosis that Jesus emptied himself. This gives huge problem to their theological position. That is why White says that Paul uses Kenosis in a non literal sense. Why do you think White would make this claim? You can learn more about the different Christian theological views on the Kenosis here:

No, Dr White didn't brush off anything. He clearly explained what Jesus emptying himself meant - setting aside some of his divine attributes and prerogatives - humbling himself and submitting himself to death and to those he created.

White says that if we said that Jesus was 50% God and 50% man it would be irrational and it would make no sense. Yet, how does saying that Jesus is 100% created (flesh and blood man) and 100% uncreated (eternal God) rational and makes complete sense? Did I miss something?
Yes, thegreatverbalizer has missed the point that having an earthly body does not make you created if you are preexistent. 

Listen to what White says at 2:58 minutes into the debate of the second video "His human nature is a true human nature so that's not infinite that's not eternal that particular individual had not existed for eternity past".
So as to the nature of Jesus he is both created and uncreated! Remember we are not speaking about two seperate Jesus that are infused. We are speaking about one Jesus. I do not know if James White holds to Nestorian view that Jesus had two natures.
Yes! One Jesus, but thegreatverbalizer is the one trying to split Jesus into created and uncreated - not James White.

Text about Jesus deity ambiguous? Espcially since the God that the Jews and Muslims worship is not shy. For example The God the Jews worship says,

Declare ye, and bring it forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:21, 22 - ASV)

"Verily I (alone) am Allah: there is no god but I: worship (only) Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance!" Holy Qur'an (chapter 20:14)

Why do we not find a statement of Jesus where he says, "I am God?" Why is Jesus so shy to say this? Why is the Holy Spirit so shy to say this? Why are the angels so shy to say this? Why is Moses so shy to say this? Because it is painfully obvious to all who have open eyes and hearts that are not sealed who is God.

Jesus is not God.
Moses is not God.
The Angels are not God.

The Holy Spirit is not God.
Jesus did claim to be God. No human could ever say:
 23But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."- John 8:23-24

So notice all that James brings up is Titus (Paul) and 2 Peter (disputed author) and goes on and on about what PAUL HAS TO SAY ABOUT JESUS.......notice he very conviently does not quote Jesus.

Not true, Dr. White quoted the same passage I just quoted.

Titus 2:13 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

I'd like to know why thegreatverbalizer does not think these passages tells him that Jesus is God. Both Peter and Paul tells us they knew Jesus was not just our saviour but God.
I have posted the YouTube video of the debate below. 

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: The Big Homoousia Debate: Abdullah Al Andalusi and James White Debate The Christian Trinity.
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1 comment:

  1. I have not listened tp the whole debate yet.

    I did see TGV's review though.