Who Invented the
The three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam - all purport to share one fundamental concept: belief in
God as the Supreme Being, the Creator and Sustainer of the
Universe. Known as tawhid in Islam, this
concept of the Oneness of God was stressed by Moses in a
Biblical passage known as the "Shema" or the Jewish creed of
faith: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord."
It was repeated word-for-word approximately 1500 years later
by Jesus when he said: "...The first of all the commandments
is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29)
Muhammad came along approximately 600 years later, bringing
the same message again: "And your God is One God: There is
no God but He, ..." (The Qur'an 2:163)
Christianity has digressed from the concept of the Oneness of
God, however, into a vague and mysterious doctrine that was
formulated during the fourth century. This doctrine, which
continues to be a source of controversy both within and without
the Christian religion, is known as the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Simply put, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that
God is the union of three divine persons - the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit - in one divine being.
If that concept, put in basic terms, sounds confusing, the
flowery language in the actual text of the doctrine lends even
more mystery to the matter:
"...we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity...
for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son,
another of the Holy Ghost is all one... they are not three
gods, but one God... the whole three persons are co-eternal
and co-equal... he therefore that will be save must thus think
of the Trinity..." (excerpts from the Athanasian Creed)
Let's put this together in a different form: one person, God
the Father + one person, God the Son + one person, God the Holy
Ghost = one person, God the What? Is this English or is this
It is said that Athanasius, the bishop who formulated this
doctrine, confessed that the more he wrote on the matter, the
less capable he was of clearly expressing his thoughts regarding
How did such a confusing doctrine get its start?
Trinity in the Bible
References in the Bible to a Trinity of divine beings are
vague, at best.
In Matthew 28:19, we find Jesus telling his disciples to go
out and preach to all nations. While the "Great Commission" does
make mention of the three persons who later become components of
the Trinity, the phrase "...baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is quite
clearly an addition to Biblical text - that is, not the actual
words of Jesus - as can be seen by two factors:
- Baptism in the early Church, as discussed by Paul in his
letters, was done only in the name of Jesus; and
- The "Great Commission" found in the first gospel written,
that of Mark, bears no mention of Father, Son and/or Holy
Ghost - see Mark 16:15.
The only other reference in the Bible to a Trinity can be
found in the Epistle of I John 5:7, Biblical scholars of today,
however, have admitted that the phrase "...there are three
that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Ghost: and these three are one" is definitely a "later
addition" to Biblical test, and it is not found in any of
today's versions of the Bible.
It can, therefore, be seen that the concept of a Trinity of
divine beings was not an idea put forth by Jesus or any other
prophet of God. This doctrine, now subscribed to by Christians
all over the world, is entirely man-made in origin.
The Doctrine Takes Shape
While Paul of Tarsus, the man who could rightfully be
considered the true founder of Christianity, did formulate many
of its doctrines, that of the Trinity was not among them. He
did, however, lay the groundwork for such when he put forth the
idea of Jesus being a "divine Son." After all, a Son does need a
Father, and what about a vehicle for God's revelations to man?
In essence, Paul named the principal players, but it was the
later Church people who put the matter together.
Tertullian, a lawyer and presbyter of the third century
Church in Carthage, was the first to use the word "Trinity" when
he put forth the theory that the Son and the Spirit participate
in the being of God, but all are of one being of substance with
A Formal Doctrine is Drawn Up
When controversy over the matter of the Trinity blew up in
318 between two church men from Alexandria - Arius, the deacon,
and Alexander, his bishop - Emperor Constantine stepped into the
Although Christian dogma was a complete mystery to him, he
did realize that a unified church was necessary for a strong
kingdom. When negotiation failed to settle the dispute,
Constantine called for the first ecumenical council in Church
history in order to settle the matter once and for all.
Six weeks after the 300 bishops first gathered at Nicea in
325, the doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out. The God of
the Christians was now seen as having three essences, or
natures, in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
The Church Puts Its Foot Down
The matter was far from settled, however, despite high hopes
for such on the part of Constantine. Arius and the new bishop of
Alexandria, a man named Athanasius, began arguing over the
matter even as the Nicene Creed was being signed; "Arianism"
became a catch-word from that time onward for anyone who did not
hold to the doctrine of the Trinity.
It wasn't until 451, at the Council of Chalcedon that, with
the approval of the Pope, the Nicene/Constantinople Creed was
set as authoritative. Debate on the matter was no longer
tolerated; to speak out against the Trinity was now considered
blasphemy, and such earned stiff sentences that ranged from
mutilation to death. Christians now turned on Christians,
maiming and slaughtering thousands because of a difference of
Brutal punishments and even death did not stop the
controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity, however, and the
said controversy continues even today.
The majority of Christians, when asked to explain this
fundamental doctrine of their faith, can offer nothing more than
"I believe it because I was told to do so." It is explained away
as "mystery" - yet the Bible says in I Corinthians 14:33 that "... God is not the author of confusion..."
The Unitarian denomination of Christianity has kept alive the
teachings of Arius in saying that God is one; they do not
believe in the Trinity. As a result, mainstream Christians abhor
them, and the National Council of Churches has refused their
admittance. In Unitarianism, the hope is kept alive that
Christians will someday return to the preachings of Jesus:
"...Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou
serve." (Luke 4:8)
Islam and the Matter of the Trinity
While Christianity may have a problem defining the essence of
God, such is not the case in Islam.
"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a
Trinity, for there is no god except One God." (Qur'an 5:73)
It is worth noting that the Arabic language Bible uses the name
"Allah" as the name of God.
Suzanne Haneef, in her book WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS (Library of Islam, 1985), puts
the matter quite succinctly when she says, "But God is not like
a pie or an apple which can be divided into three thirds which
form one whole; if God is three persons or possesses three
parts, He is assuredly not the Single, Unique, Indivisible Being
which God is and which Christianity professes to believe in."
Looking at it from another angle, the Trinity designates God
as being three separate entities - the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit. If God is the Father and also the Son, He would
then be the Father of Himself because He is His own Son. This is
not exactly logical.
Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion.
Monotheism, however, has as its fundamental belief that God is
One; the Christian doctrine of the Trinity - God being
Three-in-One - is seen by Islam as a form of polytheism.
Christians don't revere just One God, they revere three.
This is a charge not taken lightly by Christians, however.
They, in turn, accuse the Muslims of not even knowing what the
Trinity is, pointing out that the Qur'an sets it up as Allah the
Father, Jesus the Son, and Mary his mother. While veneration of
Mary has been a figment of the Catholic Church since 431 when
she was given the title "Mother of God" by the Council of
Ephesus, a closer examination of the verse in the Qur'an (5:116) most often cited by Christians in support of their accusation,
shows that the designation of Mary by the Qur'an as a "member"
of the Trinity, is simply not true.
While the Qur'an does condemn both trinitarianism (the Qur'an 4:17) and the worship of Jesus and his mother Mary (the Qur'an 5:116), nowhere does it identify the actual three components of
the Christian Trinity. The position of the Qur'an is that WHO or
WHAT comprises this doctrine is not important; what is important
is that the very notion of a Trinity is an affront against
the concept of One God.
In conclusion, we see that the doctrine of the Trinity is a
concept conceived entirely by man; there is no sanction
whatsoever from God to be found regarding the matter simply
because the whole idea of a Trinity of divine beings has no
place in monotheism. In the Qur'an, God's Final Revelations to
mankind, we find His stand quite clearly stated in a number of
"...your God is One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord,
let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord,
admit no one as partner."(Qur'an 18:110)
"...take not, with God, another object of worship, lest you
should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected."(Qur'an 17:39)
...Because, as God tells us over and over again in a Message
that is echoed throughout All His Revealed Scriptures:
"...I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore, serve Me (and
no other)..."(Qur'an 21:92)