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Understanding God's Holy Spirit  

 

Aaron’s question-

How Does Judaism and Islam Understand God’s Holy Spirit?

 

From Peregrin 4-26 #2

Someone correct me if I am wrong, however I believe this sums it up:

Judaism sees the "Spirit of the Lord" as the indwelling spirit of God, and not as one of three "persons" of the Trinity as Christians do.

In Islam (I think) the "Holy Spirit" is a euthenism for an angel, probably Gabriel.

 

From Ray 4-27 #3

Dear Aaron,

In Islam the Holy Spirit is in fact believed to be the angel Gabriel. Something I do not understand since in the Quran it is stated that Jesus was blown into the womb of the Virgin Mary from Gods Spirit. Then their is mention of Holy Spirit as another entity.

The Holy Spirit can not be an angel since angels are messengers whereas the Holy Spirit is God.

Ray

 

From Penpal #4

Angels are not Holy Spirit in Islam

Quran

17:85
They ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you,
(O men!)"

5:110
Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit,

2:253
Those Messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: to one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus, the son of Mary, We gave Clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

 

From Penpal 4-28 #8

Here is how Spirit of Allah work

[5.110] When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.

Holy Spirit = Allah's Power

 

From Isk #9

"Judaism sees the "Spirit of the Lord" as the indwelling spirit of God, and not as one of three "persons" of the Trinity as Christians do."

I, as a Christian, would not seek to make any contrast such as this. The Spirit in the 'Trinity' is not anything different from "the indwelling spirit of God". I would not understand the 'Trinity' in a different way than this. Trinity is not a view of different Gods, but of 'One God, in three persons' - indwelling each other. Maybe in Judaism, prior to Christ, the Holy Spirit was not well known. It fell on only a few prophets, the 70 elders under Moses, Saul in his election as King, &c. However, in the Way, the Spirit filled all believers, from the Pentecost of Acts ch.2 onwards.

 

From Abrahamite (A Jewess) 4-   #11

In Judaism, the Holy Spirit is known as Shechina (the Divine Presence, also referred to as the Indwelling Presence). Remember the "cloud" over the tabernacle in the Sinai? That was Schechina. It is the presence of the Holy One in a place, person (or group of people), or period of time. It comes to dwell there because of the precepts associated with that place, person, or period of time. Wherever the Shechina rests, there is an enhanced ability to experience the Divine.

Since Hebrew has no neuter it form, nouns and pronouns are either masculine or feminine. Schechina is a feminine form. It is important to place this interesting fact in the context that Jewishly the Holy One is beyond divisions, including the masculine and feminine. Also, although the Indwelling Presence is all Divine, it is not the totality of and thus not identical to the One whom we call HaShem (the Name).

In summary, the Holy Spirit Jewishly can be thought of as a state/force completely imbued with the Hod (Glory) of HaShem. This force is always unfailingly with/amongst us come what may - Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:16 - "Who dwells with them in the midst of their 'tumah' (unsuitability and hence impurity)" - be it only as a spark deep within the soul. However, when externally actualized, the Schechina is said to also reside upon us. On this level, visible to all, HaShem's Hod and Chesed (Lovingkindness) are also revealed. In this state humanity is brought into a plane of existence characterized by a palpable sense of nearness with the Holy One.

Abrahamite

 

From Isk 4-29 #13

"In Judaism, the Holy Spirit is known as Shechina (the Divine Presence, also referred to as the Indwelling Presence). ....Wherever the Shechina rests, there is an enhanced ability to experience the Divine.

.... Jewishly the Holy One is beyond divisions, ..... although the Indwelling Presence is all Divine, it is not the totality of and thus not identical to the One whom we call HaShem (the Name).

... the Holy Spirit Jewishly can be thought of as a state/force completely imbued with the Hod (Glory) of HaShem. This force is always unfailingly with/amongst us come what may - Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:16 - "Who dwells with them in the midst of their 'tumah' (unsuitability and hence impurity)" - be it only as a spark deep within the soul. However, when externally actualized, the Schechina is said to also reside upon us. ....In this state humanity is brought into a plane of existence characterized by a palpable sense of nearness with the Holy One..."

Very interesting, and well expressed.

Furthermore, in "...although the Indwelling Presence is all Divine, it is not the totality of and thus not identical to the One whom we call HaShem..." and "... the Holy Spirit Jewishly can be thought of as a state/force completely imbued with the Hod (Glory) of HaShem", I see very little distinction with the Christian understanding. "..the Indwelling Presence is ...not the totality of HaShem", implies a complexity in the nature of The Name, which is of course the essence of the Christian understanding of 'Trinity'.

 

 

 

From Abrahamite 4-30 #14

Dear Isk,

I have found that at the deepest levels of understanding, when hearts and minds are open, are open and not defensive, a common ground can always be reached. And we can even come to recognize and embrace in awe and wonder the reality that each faith must naturally also move between that place of commonality and their own distinct understanding and spiritual effort in order for combined harmony to grow. For the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This is the high ground in the flood of religious competitiveness, oneupmanship and attempts to dispossess other faiths - and it is from this undivided place alone that the dove can carry the olive branch. Knowing this, and then seeing how even at some very prominent levels, so-called religiously enlightened leadership persists in exclusivist strategies and divisive tactics, is very disappointing and saddening. We must expose these lies and hold these people accountable for them - and demand that they adjust their methods to reflect the great truth opposite which there is no falsehood but only another truth.

Abrahamite

.

From Corneila 4-30 #15

Christianity believes in the trinity, God The Father, God The Son , and God
The Holy Spirit, all one and the same.

 

From Isk #16

Christian statements of Trinity made in 3rd century CE were made in response to particular controversies, notably, the Arian controversy. It was about defining the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God, and reconciling Jesus' divine and human natures. We must not think that the particular expressions used in the context of these 3rd century controversies are necessarily as useful in every subsequent circumstance. We have to recognise the time and place in which those staements were made. We can't keep ourselves in a time warp of 1700 years ago.

I was very happy to read Abrahamite's expression of Jewish understanding of Holy Spirit. Of course the early Christians were Jews, and would certainly have understood Holy Spirit in the same way that Abrahamite expressed it. It's good, from a Christian standpoint, to get back to the first century roots, even the Jewish roots, of the faith.

There were certain fundamentals on which the early church and the Jews did not differ. It was only later that some divergences caused too much tension between the Synagogue and the church. But still, that was the experience of those times, and why do we have to remain fixed in that mould? We should look at things from the perspective of our own times, what is necessary for today.....

It's just some thoughts.

And I appreciate your thoughts in No. 14 above, Abrahmite. I could say amen to that.

 

 

From Aaron 5-1 #17

To my dear friends,

You cannot imagine how refreshing I found your responses to my question concerning God’s Holy Spirit. I think that what I see in these responses, is conformation for the positive commonality that we all have within the Abrahamic Covenant. If you would allow me this liberty, I would conclude that the understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam concerning God’s Holy Spirit are practically the same. Yes, I too believe that the Holy Spirit of God is the Power of God. Thus, the Holy Spirit would seem to be the essence or power of God that works for Him, His will in the world. This is the same Spirit that God describes for us in Zech.4:6—where things are accomplished "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says Jehovah of Hosts."

Thanks again and God bless.

Psalm 51: "10Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from your presence; And take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of your salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors your ways; And sinners shall be converted unto you." Amen.

Aaron

 

From Rick 5-2 #18

Abrahamite, Isk, and Aaron,

I don't want to interject a thorn of contention into this otherwise beautiful display of harmony between Judaism and Christianity, but I don't think that Christians would refer to the Holy Spirit as a "force" the way Jews and perhaps Muslims would. For us, the Holy Spirit is a person. In other words, it is possible for us to address the Holy Spirit distinctly and separately from an address to the Father or the Son. I doubt that Jews or Muslims would view the Holy Spirit in this way.

Our points of commonality may be in the Christian idea of the work of the Holy Spirit and the Muslim/Jewish idea of what God does as a spirit.

Rick

 

From Isk #19

Rick,

Yes, while Christians believe the Spirit to be a person, he is still a 'force' - a part of God that acts in the world in a specific way; thus he is a 'personal force'. Does that reconcile the ideas?

Furthermore, for me, I see no teaching or example in the scriptures (either OT or NT), for addressing the Spirit directly. Prayers were always directed to the Father, or to the Son, not to the Spirit. I know that some mystics have claimed a specific relationship with Holy Spirit as a person, but I feel that that would be a rare exception. The explanation would lie in the character of the Spirit himself, he always remains very humble, he takes what belongs to the Son, or to the Father, and brings it to us; he takes what is deep in our hearts, and communicates it to the Father and to the Son. He is the Helper, the Comforter, the Interceder. The Spirit does not bring anything of His own, he takes a very humble, serving role. That's only my understanding; as far as it may be of use to you......

 

From Lewieke 5-3 #20

"It's good, from a Christian standpoint, to get back to the first century roots, even the Jewish roots, of the faith. [...]

We should look at things from the perspective of our own times, what is necessary for today.....

It's just some thoughts."

Isk, I completely agree with you.

 

From Peregrin #21

I have to wonder how much of this "Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity" isn't really just 2nd & 3rd century Christian semantics getting in the way. The Holy Spirit isn't discussed as a "person" in the NT that I can think of. I believe Christians and Jews might at least agree the Holy Spirit & the Spirit of the Lord possess similar "indwelling" qualities for both faiths. Christians read about the Spirit of the Lord in the Tenach and take it as one and the same as the Holy Spirit of the NT.

Then as to the concept of the Holy Spirit in Islam - if we take this as the power of Allah - then Islam's Holy Spirit probably really isn't that far removed, either.

 

From Rick 5-4 #22

Isk wrote, "Yes, while Christians believe the Spirit to be a person, he is still a 'force' - a part of God that acts in the world in a specific way; thus he is a 'personal force'. Does that reconcile the ideas?"

Kind of. I understand what you are saying, but the day that I read these posts I also read this from Bishop Kallistos Ware: "The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not just a 'divine blast,' not just an insentient force, but one of the three eternal persons of the Trinity; and so, for all his seeming elusiveness, we can and do enter into a personal 'I-Thou' relationship with him." This is what I meant by saying that he can be addressed. While dependent and of the same divine essence, He is distinct from the Father and the Son.

Your description of the function of the Holy Spirit is helpful. The NT speaks of the Spirit proceeding from the Father and sent by the Son. He glorifies the Son, was the agent of the Son taking a human body, and commissioned the Son at his baptism. All of these things imply a distinct personhood for the Holy Spirit. By personhood I mean that he posesses self-conciousness and self-determination distinct from the Father and the Son.

Peregrin wrote, "I have to wonder how much of this "Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity" isn't really just 2nd & 3rd century Christian semantics getting in the way. The Holy Spirit isn't discussed as a "person" in the NT that I can think of."

I understand what you are saying, but I wouldn't refer to it as "getting in the way." I also think that it is much more than just semantics. The Christian councils were declaring explicitly what the church had always understood intuitively. It is true that the Bible doesn't speak of the Holy Spirit in terms of his personhood or essence the way the councils did. Those were Greek modes of thinking. However, the NT is clearly Trinitarian at the intuitive level (see examples above). The councils were forced to be explicit because of the rise of a number of heresies that threatened the very heart of Christianity. In regards to the Holy Spirit, they felt that to deny his personhood would have a domino effect on many other doctrines including the Christian doctrine of salvation and the doctrine of the church. Triune monotheism, whether explicit or implicit, is absolutely essential to Christianity. This is why even today the three major branches of Christianity - Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant - declare that those who deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit are heretics.

Rick

 

From Aaron #23

Greetings to all

Peace

I appreciate everyone's interest, and that you can also, in a limited sense, appreciate the commonality within our three religions concerning the Creator God and God’s Holy Spirit.

But with respect to the additional explanations that we might offer from time to time, I believe that some Scriptural basis for our thoughts might be helpful to everyone in advancing our understanding.

I am going to make a little jump here, and I hope that this jump is not into a hornet’s nest. I mean no offense with my commentary—these are just some of my thought on this subject that I wanted to share.

I once asked an elderly pastor this question—Does one have to believe in the Trinity to be saved? He did not give me an answer. The primary reason for my question came from the numerous times that I had heard sermons preached on the Trinity. And it seemed that each and every time—I believe without exception, the minister who was preaching the sermon would end their sermons by saying—Because of its complexity, they did not believe that anyone could fully understand or explain the holy Trinity. This conclusion, I believe, was the result of a lack of absolute Biblical proof for the Holy Trinity as such. The Bible just does not explain the Holy Trinity in clear and simple language that we can understand. But it is an understanding that transcends the human mind—Mysteriously hidden in God.

So here is only my opinion—If we are dealing with this complex invisible Creator God, whose ways and being are so very far above us—even past finding out. Why would we ever want to condemn someone for not believing in the specific details that we can neither accurately explain nor understand? I do not believe that the Bible ever makes the Holy Trinity a prerequisite to one’s Salvation.

Nevertheless, I believe that the Christian Church is fully entitled to believe in what they believe in, without any criticism from Judaism or Islam: The same accord to which they are also entitled.

Of course our traditions are a very important part of our faith, but when traditions become divisive??? Simply because traditions often differ in many instances. These Christian traditions that we are talking about, specifically the Holy Trinity, are principally based on the Christian understanding for that time in history. So are we just to assume that their understanding in that time in history was perfectly complete? This is not intended as a challenge to the certain reality of the Holy Trinity, but just to examine some of the early traditions.

I certainly would not want to sound like a heretic, but I can Scripturally tell you that they did not perfectly understand all of the intricate details of God’s universal reconciliation. And their failure here, I believe, was the result of a deficiency in their eschatological understandings. I am sure that you have heard the saying—the d…l is in the details. They had never arrived at a proper understanding of exactly who the peoples of God are.

Finally, I would ask you this—are we to just follow along without the right to ask a question? If that were the case, there could be no advancement at all in our theological knowledge.

Thanks again, and God Bless

Aaron

 

From Rick 5-4 #24

Good morning, Aaron.

I would agree with you that we can't understand the Trinity. There is nothing triune in the natural creation that we can compare with the Trinity, so it really is beyond our ability to comprehend.

I also don't believe that it is necessary to have a formal doctrine of the Trinity to be a fully functioning Christian. For the first few centuries of Christianity, there was no formal doctrine of the Trinity. However, as I said, I think they did understand it intuitively. So many other vital Christian doctrines can only be understood within a Trinitarian framework that to throw out the Trinity you have to get rid of much of what is unique to Christianity. It is not the doctrine of the Trinity or any other doctrine that saves us. It is God who does that. The doctrine of the Trinity gives us (Christians) some insight and understanding into how that happens. For us, the end result is a greater and deeper worship of God, and a keener insight into what it means to be the people of God in the world.

Personally, I believe that the Trinity is a reality and not just "one way of explaining God."

Kalo Pascha,

Rick

 

From Mohamed 5-6 #25

Salam, Peace, Shalom!

The Holy Spirit in Islam is Angel Gabriel. This is the interpretation hold be the vast majority of Muslim scholars. A very few scholars however would say it is the New Testament/Enjeel. An even fewer scholars say it is the Holy Name of God with which Jesus could make his miracles.

Best wishes,

Mohamed Mosaad

 

From Cornelia #26

Some Holy Bible Scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit (New International Version):

Luke 10:21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Luke 11:13
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Acts 5:32
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:5
For John baptized with[ 1:5 Or in] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

Luke 12:10
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

 

From Isk 5-7 #27

'The Holy Spirit in Islam is Angel Gabriel'

In contrast, Christians see angels as quite distinct created beings, and Holy Spirit as one person of the Godhead (uncreated and eternal).

"—Does one have to believe in the Trinity to be saved?" However, If you are 'saved' likely you will not fail to beleive in the trinitarian nature of God, it will become a part of your experience, and encounter with God, and with scripture.

"a lack of absolute Biblical proof for the Holy Trinity as such." Nonsense; the Bible is full of it. Jesus is shown as God, the Spirit is shown as God, and the Father is shown as God, the Spirit is mentioned as being of the fathe and of the Son; Jesus says he is the same as the Father..... just follow the logic.

 

From Aasim #28

I think, perhaps, we are trying to compare two different aspects of theology.

1) The Holy Spirit as defined in Christian theology: a person of the Trinity, seperate unto itself, and yet fully part of the godhead.

2) The Holy Spirit as defined in Islam: the Angel Gabriel, also referenced in the Quran as the True Spirit, Honest Spirit, or the Spirit. (Please refer to Dr. Mosaad's post)

Islam does not attribute any personification whatsoever towards God. Essentially, there is the created and the uncreated; there is Allah(swt) and there is everything else. Allah(swt) may choose to interact with creation anyway He deems fit. Afterall, He is the Creator of time, space, matter and life. As the Creator, Allah(swt) is seperate from creation: timeless, ageless, tireless.

It is accounted througout Scripture that God has interacted with the world and spoken to the Prophets by the agent of the Holy Spirit. In Islam, this would be Gabriel.

Gabriel came to Abraham(pbuh). Gabriel came to Mary(as). Gabriel came to Jesus(pbuh). Gabriel came to Muhammad(saw). Even Moses(pbuh), who perhaps came closest to the presence of Allah(swt), fainted in His presence, overwhelmed by the power and majesty of God. But none of us, according to Islam, have looked upon the face of God nor have we experienced His complete presence.

Through Gabriel, Allah(swt) has given Revelation and support to the Prophets to assist them in their cause.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Aaron 5-7 #29

Hello Isk

Peace

I never said that there was not Biblical proof for the Father, or for the Son, or for the Holy Spirit. What I said, was that there was not the absolute proof--Like the Bible does not precisely explain the Christian understanding of the Holy Trinity in so many words. Logically, it is an accepted fact in the Christian tradition.

Aaron

 

From Rick #30

Aasim or any other Muslim,

In Christianity, "personhood" is defined as self-consciousness and self-determination. It does not refer to created or uncreated. God is the Prototype of personhood and humans were created in his image. You wrote, "Allah(swt) may choose to interact with creation anyway He deems fit. Afterall, He is the Creator of time, space, matter and life. As the Creator, Allah(swt) is seperate from creation: timeless, ageless, tireless. " In my understanding, this would imply personhood.

Regarding God's interaction with humanity via the agency of Gabriel, does God Himself have any direct interaction with humanity apart from general providence, or is all of his specific interaction with humanity through angels?

Warmly,

Rick

 

From DavidF #31

Hi. I'm new to this discussion, but I feel that there are many comments about Judaism that I would like to correct. Here it is from a former yeshiva student who also has a background in critical scholarship:

Aaron's original question is a bit too detailed to answer in the way that it is formulated. The problem is that Jewish belief is communicated either in Hebrew or in translation from Hebrew. If you literally translate "Holy Spirit" back into Hebrew, it comes out as "Ruah HaQodesh". Here the problem starts. When Jews say Ruah HaQodesh, they may mean something very different from what a Christian means when they say "Holy Spirit". I do not know much about Christiatinity, but I have heard some Christian friends refer to the Holy Spirit as the spirit that impregnated Mary. Well, Jews do not believe that Spirits impregnate women: men do. A Pentecostal friend referred to the Holy Spirit as the spirit that makes people speak in toungues. Well, most Jews never hear of speaking in toungues and, i.e., it just is not part of the Jewish spiritual culture. The upshot is that when a Jews says "Ruah HaQodesh", he or she is probably talking about something very different from "Holy Spirit". As you read this paragraph, if you get the idea that Jews think about spirits in terms of what they do, not what they are, you are right. Well, what do Jews mean when they say Ruach HaQodesh? That might vary depending upon context. When speaking of a prophet, it means the spirit of G-d that is giving them prophecy. When speaking of a psalmist or a writer of the wisdom literature, it is the divine inspiration that motivated their holy writing. When a sage is interpreting the Holy Law, story, or idea from the Torah, it is the spirit of G-d that inspires him. However, as Maimonides pointed out, the inspiration of prophecy is qualitatively different from the inspiration of interpreting Law, a prophet is not even permitted to use the spirit that inspires prophesy to interpret the Law: the former is supernatural and the latter is rational. In modern Jewish thinking (i.e. the last two centuries) Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox segments apply the term to the pronouncements, advice, legal decisions, and interpretations of hasidic Rebbes or masters or Gedolim ("great sages"). The term more often used for the latter is "daat Torah," but the concept is the same. Others, Mitnagdim (opponents of Hasidism) and "modern" Orthodox and other traditional segments of Judaism feel that this is a mistaken interpretation of Ruach HaQodesh, Daat Torah, and the function and role of rabbis and sages.

I hope that this clarifies Jewish thinking and did not create more confusion. So, with this in the background, you can understand how I address this specific questions:

1) The source of Ruach HaQodesh? G-d, of course. G-d is the source of everyting and the destination of everything.

2) The relationship to the Creator God? The same relationship as everything has to the Creator God. There is only one God, the Creator God.

3) I have addressed its function. Ultimately, the function of everything is to carry out the will of the Creator. The only point of discussion can be what that will is, how to logically explain the idea that the infinite can have will, etc.

Be healthy and peace to the world.

DF

 

From Aaron 5-8 #33

Mohamed

Greetings and peace

Once again, I do greatly appreciate the input in all of these interesting responses.

For example, from the Islamic position, this response came from from Penpal 4-27-02 #4

‘Angels are not Holy Spirit in Islam

Quran

17:85
They ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)"’

Then this response came from Abrahamite 4-29-02 #11

‘In Judaism, the Holy Spirit is known as Schechina (the Divine Presence, also referred to as the Indwelling Presence).’

Now with respect to the Scriptures—the Holy Spirit, as I believe that it is understood in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, has an omnipresent characteristic.

This is especially evident in Numbers 11: 24And Moses went out, and told the people the words of Jehovah: and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the Tent. 25And Jehovah came down in the cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and put it upon the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, but they did so no more. 26But there remained two men in the camp, the name of the one was El-dad, and the name of the other Me-dad: and the Spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but had not gone out unto the Tent; and they prophesied in the camp. 27And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, El-dad and Me-dad do prophesy in the camp. 28And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29And Moses said unto him, are you jealous for my sake? I would that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, that Jehovah would put his Spirit upon them!" (RSAV-1901) This is describing the very same Holy Spirit that God liberally distributed to His people on the Day of Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection. (See Acts.2)

The same Holy Spirit that King David was preying for in Psalm 51: "1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness: According to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me. 4Against you, you only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in your sight; That you may be justified when you speak, And be clear when you Judge. 5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom. 7Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which you have broken may rejoice. 9Hide your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from your presence; And take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of your salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors your ways; And sinners shall be converted unto you." (RASV-1901) I give testimony that these words are true words of liberation for all who can trust in God’s mercy and simply accept it.

I am not absolutely certain of this, but I do not recall that either angels nor arch-angels were ever given to this level of Divine Omnipresent Power by God.

I do thank you for your patience.

God’s mercy is always near!

Aaron

 

From Aasim #34

Peace to all,

Rick,

Yes, I think we find ourselves in sticky situations when using words like "person" or "image" when referring to God.

My understanding is that Islam supports no "image" of Allah(swt), this is why iconography or any representation of God is strictly forbidden in Islamic art.

Also, we do not see God as a prototype for humanity. Rather, we were created as He desired us to be, and we reflect in no way an image or likeness of Allah(swt). This would be like comparing ourselves to God, a form of self-worship according to Islam.

Muslims believe we are guided through life by our inner moral compass, or fitrah. Fitrah is the natural inclination to worship Allah(swt) alone and to be obedient to His Will. It is our responsibility to be mindful of our fitrah and to nourish and strengthen it with prayer and good deeds.

Christians often speak of being moved by the Holy Spirit. As I understand it, as a Muslim, I am pretty much on my own. Life is a test in the fullest sense, and if I were somehow Divinely helped along in this test...well, I don't think it would be much of a test!

I know to Christians this may sound cold and stoic. But it really isn't. We believe that Allah(swt) is ever present and accounts our every thought and deed. Allah(swt) cares for us and provides for us and we rely upon His bounty. But the burden and blessing of the fitrah is upon us. From the time of creation, we accepted this burden when no other member of creation would. This is when we accepted our "personhood" and the burden that comes with it.

Personally, I do not expect Allah(swt) to "move" me by the Holy Spirit. I pray in repentance and I pray in adoration of Allah(swt). I know He hears my supplications and is mindful of my life and my deeds. I have faith in His Mercy and Benevolence.

You asked,

...does God Himself have any direct interaction with humanity apart from general providence...

Again, as far as I understand it, there are two opinions held among Muslims concerning this:

1) All Revelation or inspiration of anykind has come to an end in Muhammad(saw). To believe otherwise would be to question the finality of Muhammad's(saw) prophethood.

2) All Revelation has come to an end in Muhammad(saw). However, we may still be Divinely inspired and guided to new thoughts or understandings of Quranic interpretation and Islamic Law. Of course, this inspiration is reserved for those Muslims who would be considered saintly and excellent in faith.

in faith,

Aasim

 

<****>

 

From Lewieke #35

"Fitrah is the natural inclination to worship Allah(swt) alone"

I'm afraid our natural inclination is towards polytheism. Hence the worship of saints in the catholic chuch and, yes, also the collecting of relics of Muhammad (coat, hairs from his beerd, teeth, etc.).

 

From Rick #36

Aasim,

This thread is getting a number of different branches, but that's OK with me.

Icons: In Eastern Orthodoxy icons of God the Father and the Holy Spirit (except as a dove) are prohibited for the same reason they are prohibited in Islam and Judaism. Icons of Christ are allowed because he was human. If you had had a camera during the first century, you could have taken a picture of him, right? Icons are pictures of Christ.

God as a prototype: By this I am refering to Genesis 1:26 where it says that God created us in his image. Of course, this doesn't mean that we look like God or that God possesses all of humanities limitations. Rather, it means that, like God, we have a "personhood" (read: self-consciousness and self-determination), free will, moral capacity, creative ability, and dominion. We have these qualities in extremely limited proportion to God, but they do separate us from the animals, plants, rocks, etc.

I'm not sure I see the link between this and self-worship. Obviously, if we re-create God in our image that would be self-worship, but that is not what Christians mean by being made in the image of God. We don't look to ourselves to understand God, we look to God to understand ourselves.

You wrote, "Fitrah is the natural inclination to worship Allah(swt) alone and to be obedient to His Will." Christians believe that our natural, selfish inclination is to go away from God and disobey him. When you have children (insha'allah) you will see that you don't have to teach them to be bad - they do that quite naturally!

You wrote, "As I understand it, as a Muslim, I am pretty much on my own. Life is a test in the fullest sense, and if I were somehow Divinely helped along in this test...well, I don't think it would be much of a test!"

I have to confess that this doesn't sound very inviting or loving on God's part. I don't think the Bible presents life so much as a test, but rather as an opportunity. During life we have the opportunity to be reconciled to God, to be healed of the brokenness caused by sin, and the opportunity to worship him and know him in faith. Why would God need to test us? What's the point? What's the standard of pass or fail?

You wrote, "From the time of creation, we accepted this burden when no other member of creation would. This is when we accepted our "personhood" and the burden that comes with it."

Again, I don't see life and personhood as a burden, but rather a gift. "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." Religion is a heavy burden, relationship isn't.

You wrote, "You asked,

...does God Himself have any direct interaction with humanity apart from general providence...

Again, as far as I understand it, there are two opinions held among Muslims concerning this:" [snip]

Sounds like a very lonely universe. Sorry!

Warmly,

Rick

 

From Musa #38

As a former Christian I can say this...

I have never heard the word personhood.

To say God is the Prototype of a word some Christian (so called follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ) made up, is close to blasphamy.

Making statements about God without knowledge is strictly forbidden and will be punished severely.

Asking useless questions about the Creator is also forbidden. All you can do is have faith that there is a God, and He created man in the image that you see man. No man has ever seen God. No man can say what God looks like. The Bible stats that God made man in His image, and then it turns around and says no man has ever seen God's image. Why continue supporting the former?

Why reject the Quran? The only way you will find answers to these silly questions, is to be sincere towards the Almighty and worship Him alone. He will increase your intelligence if you do these simple things.

 

From Peregrin #40

Musa's:

Making statements about God without knowledge is strictly forbidden and will be punished severely.

Asking useless questions about the Creator is also forbidden.

Wow. This sure does bring up memory of some sore spots in religious history.

Who defines what is "useless"? Who defines what is "forbidden"? Who has the right to declare someone should be "severely punished" for some act of alleged heresy?

I don't buy this. It sounds like a forumla for unleashing the Thought Police, or a new Inquisition.

IMO Jesus set the right example. He perservered in the face of adverse circumstances without ever "punishing" anyone. Even as Jesus perservered, so we should also try our best to simply counter what we believe are heresies with right information. We should also pray for those who we believe are committing heresies. But to slip into a new age of inflicting "severe punishment" does not sound like an exercise in increasing our intelligence. No, that cannot be the right way to go.

Musa may believe the Quran has all the answers. However, people of other faiths are not so persuaded. Let us say instead we need to practice mutual tolerance of those we think are less wise than we think we are are - even as we share the truths we believe in.

 

From Mohamed #41

Dear Aasim,
Not all revelation Aasim! It's only the revelation of prophecy that has ended by Prophet Muhammad pbuh according to Islam. Nonetheless, other kinds of revelations like the "vision" could always be experienced, not necessarily by "saints". Do we have Muslim Saints? :-))

Dear Aaron,
Re: Angels are not Holy Spirit in Islam
Quran
17:85
They ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)"’
The "spirit" in this verse means the soul not the Holy Spirit.

Yours,

Mohamed Mosaad

 

From Aasim #42

Peace to all,

Rick & Shy_gurl,

Actually, since becomming Muslim, the universe has become all the more beautiful to me. I actually feel closer to Allah(swt) and am clear about my purpose in this life: to serve and worship Allah(swt), alone.

Rick, I am wondering what you meant by: Religion is a heavy burden, relationship isn't.

Islam is not a burden. My faith in Allah(swt) is not a burden. The teachings of the Quran and Hadith are certainly not burdens.

But the lives we live are full of hardships and burdens. Islam would consider these as a test of our faith, to persevere in the face of suffering.

You also asked: Why would God need to test us? What's the point? What's the standard of pass or fail?

Anyone may profess faith. But to actually live it? How can one's faith be truely known if it is not tested?

Islam offers Muslims peace. We believe that people are inherently good. But as our lives progress beyond the womb, we are tested, and many times we fail these tests. This is why it is imperitive for a Muslim to pray and seek God, live the five pillars to the fullest, and to earnestly follow the example of Prophet Muhammad(saw).

Peregrin, you wrote: IMO Jesus set the right example. He perservered in the face of adverse circumstances without ever "punishing" anyone.

While I respect your opinion, I would have to say this: Jesus(pbuh) did not have to rule over a new and growing nation. He never had to fight wars to protect his people. He never governed and never had to administer the full extent of the law. He never had a wife and a household to provide for.

Instead, Christ's own Apostles disobeyed him, questioned him, denied him and betrayed him.

In my own estimation, Muhammad(saw) was the greatest man and Prophet who ever graced the face of Creation.

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Aasim #43

Assalamu aleikom,

Brother Mohamed,

Thank you for the clarification regarding the nature of revelation. I am always appreciative of help in better understanding our faith.

This is why I often begin by saying: "As far as I understand..." :)

I have read that some Imams would even consider "visions" as works of dark jinn. Can we trust that dreams and visions can be truely from Allah(swt)?

Also, yes, I believe I misused the word "saint". What I understood from my reading was that inspiration or visions were often reserved for those who are strongest in faith.

Perhaps we can begin a new thread to discuss the nature of Revelation?

in faith,

Aasim

PS In regards to my last post:

In my own estimation, Muhammad(saw) was the greatest man and Prophet who ever graced the face of Creation.

I know it is bad manners to compare Prophets, and I apologise. I have a great love for the Prophet(saw) and at times I can be a bit defensive.

Again, sorry if I offended anyone.

-Aasim

 

From Peregrin #44

Aasim's

Peregrin, you wrote: IMO Jesus set the right example. He perservered in the face of adverse circumstances without ever "punishing" anyone.

While I respect your opinion, I would have to say this: Jesus(pbuh) did not have to rule over a new and growing nation. He never had to fight wars to protect his people. He never governed and never had to administer the full extent of the law. He never had a wife and a household to provide for.

Instead, Christ's own Apostles disobeyed him, questioned him, denied him and betrayed him.

Aasim:

IMO Jesus intended Christianity to be a spiritual movement, not a political one (contrary to its adaptation as such by the Roman Empire). As Jesus taught, his movement - properly understood - can adapt to just about any political climate and change it for the better from the inside out. The best means of helping others "submit" to God is by inspiration, not by force of arms.

As for Jesus' deciples, only Judas really betrayed Jesus, and he had such regrets he hung himself for the trouble. After Jesus' assension, Peter and the others made good on their initial weaknesses. They went on to distinguish themselves for their devotion to Jesus' message. With the exception of John (who was banished), the remaining eleven are believed to have also died or sacrificed themselves for their cause.

 

From Rick #45 5-9

Welcome back, Musa:

You wrote, "I have never heard the word personhood."

"Tripersonality is not tritheism; for, while there are three persons, there is but one essence." This is the heading that begins 20 pages of discussion on personhood, personality, and persons in the Holy Trinity in Strong's Theology. I'm using "person" in the theological sense and not in the common usage. "Personhood" refers to individuality - separateness. Islam agrees that God is separate/distinct from his creation, doesn't it?

You wrote, "To say God is the Prototype of a word some Christian (so called follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ) made up, is close to blasphamy."

I don't know what you mean that God is the Prototype of a word some Christian made up. Did I say something like that? I used the word "prototype" to refer to the Christian belief that God created humanity in His image. From the Islamic perspective, there are lots of Christian doctrines that are blasphemous - deity of Christ, crucifixion, etc. From a Christian perspective, there are lots of Islamic doctrines that are blasphemous - denial of Christ's deity, claiming that the Holy Spirit is an angel, etc. But for the sake of understanding each other, it usually isn't wise to use such strong language. We're not here to call each other heretics, but to understand.

You wrote, "Making statements about God without knowledge is strictly forbidden and will be punished severely."

If you're going to make such bold statements, it is best to back it up with some quotes. First, what statements about God were made without knowledge? Second, who said doing so is strictly forbidden and will be punished severely?

You wrote, "Asking useless questions about the Creator is also forbidden. " What were the useless questions? Who said they are forbidden? Come on, Musa. Maybe if you spent some more time asking questions and less time assuming you had all the answers you would actually learn something.

You wrote, "All you can do is have faith that there is a God, and He created man in the image that you see man. No man has ever seen God. No man can say what God looks like." No one disagrees with this. Musa, do you read our posts before you comment?

You wrote, "The Bible stats that God made man in His image, and then it turns around and says no man has ever seen God's image. Why continue supporting the former?" Where does the Bible say that we never saw his image? It says no man has ever seen God. If I send you a picture of my son, you could see the "image" or "likeness" of me in my son while never seeing me.

You wrote, "The only way you will find answers to these silly questions, is to be sincere towards the Almighty and worship Him alone. He will increase your intelligence if you do these simple things."

Thank you,

Rick

 

From Rick #47

Hello Aasim,

You asked, "Rick, I am wondering what you meant by: Religion is a heavy burden, relationship isn't."

I'm using "religion" here in a negative sense. In this context I am using "religion" to signify a system of rules, laws, and requirements that must be obeyed in order to earn the right to a positive hereafter - however that might be defined. This goes back to a lot of what we talked about in the "Love and Fear" thread. In Christianity, obedience is the result of a healthy relationship with God. As I said in the other thread, think about it in the context of a family relationship. If I told my kids that I would love them and accept them in my house only if they obey the rules that I have laid down, I might get obedience from them for a while, but I don't think that would be a healthy relationship. However, if I love them and accept them unconditionally, there is more hope for a healthy long-term relationship, and more likelihood of long-term obedience. This doesn't negate the need for rules, but the rules are not a "test" to see if they love me or a "test" to see if they deserve my love. The rules are to protect the relationships and provide for everyone's well-being. When God says, "Don't lie," he isn't "testing" us. It isn't just an arbitrary command. There is a moral reality to the command that when violated hurts our relationship with God and with others.

You wrote, "Islam is not a burden. My faith in Allah(swt) is not a burden. The teachings of the Quran and Hadith are certainly not burdens." But in an earlier post you wrote, "Fitrah is the natural inclination to worship Allah(swt) alone and to be obedient to His Will. It is our responsibility to be mindful of our fitrah and to nourish and strengthen it with prayer and good deeds." And also, "But the burden and blessing of the fitrah is upon us. From the time of creation, we accepted this burden when no other member of creation would. "

If religion is proving ourselves to God, I personally see no other way to understand it than as a burden. My understanding of Jesus' teaching is that he came to free us from this burden. "Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The true purpose of the law is to help us find rest for our souls.

Yes, we are often "tested" in our lives. But the test is not to prove something or earn something. It may be a challenge that we have to live up to, but it is the consequence of living in a world full of evil and not something that God has put there for us to prove ourselves.

Warmly,

Rick

 

From Aaron #48

David

Shalom

With reference to your post #31

I am grateful for your informative response to my questions.

What I have gathered from these directed responses, are the similarities in how all three religions understand the Holy Spirit.

First, I believe that each and every religion understands the source of the Holy Spirit must be the Creator God Himself.

Then the second part of my question is a bit unfair. It is probably better suited to a Christian response—as the third entity of the Trinity. But then I am not sure that it is as simple as-"The same relationship as everything has to the Creator God." Since we are all made in the image of God (Gen.1:26), I would think that God’s relationship to His Holy Spirit might be similar to the relationship that each of us has with our own spirit. Simply put, the Holy Spirit, always proceeding from the Creator God Himself and having His perfect character because God has clearly declared that this is "My Spirit" (Joel.2:28-32; Acts.2:16-21), has had a continuous historic presence and involvement in God’s creative activities (Gen.1:2). But yet a most difficult subject to explain or understand.

Third, I see the Holy Spirit as the invisible Creator God’s intermediary to His visible creation—that intermediary between God and man.

We might understand the Creator God’s Holy Spirit as the resident supernatural instrument of His power that He uses to facilitate His will upon the earth.

Since the Holy Creator God is invisible and of a distinctively different dimension, all of our knowledge of God is facilitated through His Holy Spirit.

I have appreciated everyone's interest and participation.

May the God of all wisdom graciously guide all of us by His Holy Spirit into His truth? Amen.

Aaron

 

From Musa #50

Rick

It is not a coincidence that humans had not invented a camera at the time of Jesus. Many caucasion people see a picture of Jesus and think "he must be God" because he belongs to my race and we are great.

Making an image of Jesus is evil no matter how you try to rationalize it.

 

From Aaron #51

Musa

Peace

I thank you for your interest.

But I believe that what we have here—is that you believe that what you believed is correct. And likewise, I believe that what I believe is correct.

We both honestly think that the other’s view is completely wrong.

We shall have to simply agree to disagree on these and the many other differing religious beliefs that we might hold.

May God bring us His truth?

Aaron

 

 

 

From Lewieke #52

"It is not a coincidence that humans had not invented a camera at the time of Jesus. Many caucasion people see a picture of Jesus and think "he must be God" because he belongs to my race and we are great."

I don't think of Jezus as a 'white' man at all - I see him as a Jew. And I can tell you that not only I, but also most other christians in this world are well aware of the fact that Jezus was a Jew. Also, many non-white people believe that Jezus was the Son of God as well, so how would you explain that?

 

From Peregrin #53

Musa:

As a Christian, I'll paint pictures of Jesus if I so please. There is nothing evil about it. BTW, he's a Hebrew with Semite features.

 

From Musa #54 5-10

Aaron

I believe that there is only one God, so if you disagree with that then I guess you believe that there are more than one God.

Blasphemy: Look it up.

Lewieke

I don' tknow what branch of Christianity you follow, but here in America, most Christians believe Jesus was a white male with long brown hair, and blue eyes.

Peregin

Have you ever thought about the commandment given to Moses that states: Thou shall not make any graven images.

What do you think that meant?

 

From Lewieke #55

"I don' tknow what branch of Christianity you follow, but here in America, most Christians believe Jesus was a white male with long brown hair, and blue eyes."

Musa, if that's true, then these people are not well-educated, I'm afraid.

 

From Musa #56

It' true

 

From Isk #57 5-12

"...spirits are a race of beings created by Allah from the elements of fire. They are invisible to humans and they live among us."

Spirits can and do make themselves visible at times.

"...Angels are created from the elements of light."

"...Satan was an angel called Iblis. He is now a spirit who's mission is to lead people astray."

If Satan was originally made from light, how can he be transformed to become a creature made by fire???

 

From Musa #58

If Satan was originally made from light, how can he be transformed to become a creature made by fire???

Isk,the best question to ask is: What can Allah not do?

You would recieve an answer you can understand more easily.

 

From Penpal #59 5-13

Angels Are created from Light as per the prophets Hadith.
The laws of nature does not appy to them i.e. male, female they are not. they do not eat not sleep nor disobey God, however they might query the wisdom of things. They do not die until the final hour the last one to die is the angel of death when God tells him Die and he dies.

The have different levels and grades some hire than others.
They have no known form but they can form in any form they wish.

Jinn are created from the flame of fire.
They are ruled by the laws of nature.
They eat, drink and sleep.
They are females and males and prcreate.
they die however they live longer than humans.
The majority are evil, few are good.
The can shape in any form.

Satan the head of Jinn he was no angel.
Shaikh Mohammad Alshaarawi who the greatest
shaikh in arabic and Quran explained this
by giving an example of if a group of people are gathered and an animal is with them; if they left and the animal stayed behind; an observer would say they all left except the animal that does not mean the animal was a people but he was with the group of people.

It is known that satan was so pious that he was allowed
to wonder anywhere in the heavens and mix as he wished
with angels, he was respected by angels until he was damned.


Similarly Satan was with the angels when the order was decreed, angels unable to disobey they followed by Satan did not.

 

From Peregrin #60

Re: Musa's post #54, idolotry

Golden calves, a pantheon of petty powerless false gods, the Canaanite justifications for child sacrifice and prostitute worship, emporers who demanded to be worshiped as man-gods - exacting a price in the form of slavery, high taxes, etc... for their trouble. This is what comes to mind when thinking of the prohibition against idolotry.

An image of Jesus, who died on the cross on our behalf and (as empowered by his Heavenly Father) rose again in defiance of death's grip, hardly comes across to me as belonging in the same categories mentioned above.

 

From Aasim #61

Peace to all,

I think Musa was speaking purely from an Islamic perspective.

1) In Islam, it is forbidden to associate anything with Allah(swt)

2) In Islam, Prophet Jesus(pbuh) is not God.

3) In Islam, any representation of Allah(swt), besides His name in Arabic, is strictly forbidden.

Therefore, from an Islamic perspective:

1) The worship of Jesus(pbuh) is a great sin, not only associating a man with God, but actually putting a man in His place.

2) An image of Jesus(pbuh) that is a "representation" of the living God as man, is a combination of both sins, one of falsely representing God and secondly, a severe form of shirk.

Remember, this is the Islamic perspective!

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Aaron #62

Peace to all.

It should be understandable, but like most Christians, I do not believe in, nor hold to the tenets of Islam. Thus, all disparaging remarks concerning the Holy Bible and Christianity are made, I believe, in an effort to justify or legitimize your own religion. That is, it would almost seem by your constant attacks on the other faiths, that Islam has some perceived uncertainty as long as Judaism and Christianity are viable religions. And if I correctly understand your position, it would also seem that for Islam to be legitimate, it has been absolutely necessary for many parts of the Holy Bible to be thrown out altogether—judged by you as being corrupted and an unreliable source of truth. I must tell you that all of these claims that you make against the Holy Bible have credence only in your own eyes. You see, the Christian Church has the true gospel message. And this is true whether you believe it or not. I am simply telling you how I see these things from my own perspective. As I said earlier-we must simply agree to disagree.

I originally came to the Middle East Abrahamic Forum to share an understanding concerning the commonality that the three religions have in the Abrahamic Covenant—The true universality of God’s reconciliation. But it would seem that all three religions are so busy defending their own claims to God, there is just no opportunity for anyone to go beyond that common dispute. And I am very sorry for that.

But in an attempt to advance our dialogue, let us ask a question—Does God want the three religions to compete? And I believe that the answer to that question would be a resounding No!

We must see that the three religions are distinctly different in character, and I believe that each religion also has a distinctively different role in God’s redemptive plan. So then if we could look at the larger scheme of things, these are the basic definitions we might find—

First, Judaism has its purpose and reality in the revelation of God’s visible dispositions. The visible peoples of Israel functioned as examples for the established relationship that the invisible Creator God desired to have with His visible creation.

Second, Christianity has its purpose and reality in the revelation of God’s invisible dispositions. The function of the Christian Church is to manifest and explain the invisible characteristics of the invisible Creator God’s visible dispositions.

Third, Islam has their reality through Ishmael’s belonging to, and participation in, the visible component of the Abrahamic Covenant—the visible Circumcision of the Flesh Covenant—the Covenant of Bondage. This does not mean that any one of these individuals cannot join with, and belong to, one of these other religions. That choice is in their-own hands. But just as Christianity was never supposed to replace Judaism, neither was Islam supposed to replace Judaism or Christianity. Covenantally, the thought of replacement theology is not even a possibility.

We can begin to understand these things from the Genesis record concerning Abraham’s posterity: That the role that God had prepared for Ishmael was not the same as the role that God had prepared for Isaac. We then see the clear evidence of this distinction in Gen.21: "9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. 10Therefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this handmaid and her son. For the son of this handmaid shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight on account of his son. 12And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says unto you, listen to her voice. For in Isaac shall your seed be called. 13And also of the son of the handmaid will I make a nation, because he is your seed."

And then we are given conformation for this same distinct difference in the New Testament as well. This is found in Gal.4: "21Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. 23Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise. 24Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from Mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and answers to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27For it is written, Rejoice, you barren that bear not; Break forth and cry, you that travail not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that has the husband. 28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30Therefore, what do the scripture say? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman."

Now whether you accept these passages from God’s Word or not, matters very little—because they say exactly what they say. But I believe that there is more truth here in these passages than one cares to admit. Because it would more than seem that the immediate evident conditions are all an integral part of God’s perfect plan.

Please forgive me if I have offended anyone through my impatience?

Aaron

 

From Aasim #63

Peace to all,

Aaron,

I'm not entirely sure that I am the one you are referring to as "attacking" the other religions.

My purpose has been to provide the Islamic perspective on different aspects of theology. I have been honest in my views concerning such matters as the Islamic view of the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus. To be less than honest would be to conceal truth, according to Islam, and this would make me kafir. This is something I could not accept.

What was in question was Islam's understanding of iconography and images. All I did was post my understanding of Islamic beliefs. No attack. Just a gentle reminder.

So, if sharing what Islam teaches is an attack on Christianity or Judaism, then how can there be a "universal reconciliation" between the faiths?

You wrote: I must tell you that all of these claims that you make against the Holy Bible have credence only in your own eyes.

Well, you forgot to include about 1 billion other pairs of eyes!

Also: You see, the Christian Church has the true gospel message.

I also thought so at one time, but of course that belief has radically changed.

Another: Islam has their reality through Ishmael’s belonging to, and participation in, the visible component of the Abrahamic Covenant—the visible Circumcision of the Flesh Covenant—the Covenant of Bondage.

Actually, Islam has its "reality" through the dispensation of Allah(swt) : Islam is the deen given to us by Allah(swt). It is a return to our true selves, our lives as Muslims. It is a gift of Allah(swt).

Another: But just as Christianity was never supposed to replace Judaism, neither was Islam supposed to replace Judaism or Christianity.

Well, this is the first I've heard this one. I always thought the New Covenant was supposed to replace the First. Also, as I understand it, the Imam Mahdi will unite with Jesus(pbuh) to break the Cross and to convert the Jews and Christians. I would define both of these prophecies as "replacement."

Is my understanding flawed (dangerous question)? If we all share in the Covenant, and we all share in God's reconciliation, then why the Crucifiction, why the Atonement? If Jews and Muslims equally share in God's mercy, why then did Jesus(pbuh) need to "die"?

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Isk #64

"why then did Jesus(pbuh) need to "die"?"

Jesus was killed because he was seen as a threat to the power of the ruling clique of his day, and because his actions betrayed his belief in himself as the Lord, HaShem incarnate in the flesh.

But, what man intended for evil, God used for good. The death of Jesus came to have redeeming power for all because in dying and rising again he overcame the power of death itself, and of the grave; and put to shame the intentions of the enemy (Shaitan). In the end the brothers, the sons of Israel, recognised Joseph, and were humbled, which brought redemption to their own hearts, as well as being the means of saving amny from a fierce famine. But each time God is victor, even though man may have had evil intentions.

 

From Abrahamite #65

I would tend to agree with Aaron that:

... just as Christianity was never supposed to replace Judaism, neither was Islam supposed to replace Judaism or Christianity.

Abrahamite

 

From Negah #66 5-14

in the name of God

Dear Isk & Musa,

I think you didn't understand the meaning of FIRE or LIGHT, when you are talking about the origin of spirit or angles; I think the best equal word for both these words is ENERGY.
And when we say "Adam (Human) was originally made from DUST." it means thet Human was made from MATERIAL.

Thanks
negah

 

<****> See #63

From Musa #67

Aaron and Abrahamite

I believe that the Bible states Matthew wrote that Jesus said to his followers to keep Moses law. Do you follow the teachings of Jesus? If you do not then how can you call yourself a christian(follower of the teachings of Jesus)?

Once you realize that we humans are all related and we all fall under the same jurisdiction(Allahs) you will understand how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are related as well.

Chronologially, it all makes perfect sense. It's called "world history". What does not make sense is that it appears that muslims are the only people who acknowledge Jewish prophets, and christian deities.

When I walk into churches I see figures and pictures that represent people. The name of Jesus is invoked instead of the One who Jesus taught the people to invoke: Allah (glory be to Him)

Like I said earlier, I believe that there is only one God. If you disagree, then you have violated a belief that even the Holy Bible has correctly warned you about.

Muhammeds teachings have replaced Jesus's teachings just as he said they would in the book of John. Jesus's teachings say, in the book of Matthew, that believers should hold on to the laws Moses spoke of. Christians of today, choose to follow the teachings of Paul. History has a way of overturning every stone.

Here are some definitions to some terms used by muslims on this board:

Shirk Associating other gods - or any object of regard - with God; the gravest sin.

Deen: Lifestyle, or commonly used to refer to the Islamic lifestyle

Negah: I wrote that angels were created by Allah by using the "elements" of light. And jinns, or spirits were created from the elements of fire.

 

From Aaron #68 5-17

Peace to all,

Ref. Post #63

Yet once again I ask for forgiveness if I offend anyone, but I would like the opportunity to be "honest in my views". As I have said—It would more than seem that the Islamic perspective is only viable when the foundational truths of Christianity are judged as false teachings. Aasim, I know that you are much more intelligent than that. Would you please tell me, where would Christianity be without the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus—the Atonement? We both know very well that it would nonexistent. And I must also say that "the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus" is a matter that pertains only to the Christian Church, and is really of no concern or consequence to either Judaism or Islam. But then if what I believe is contradictory to what you believe, we would then have a huge problem on our hands. Aasim, is that the case? If it is, additional dialogue would be largely beside the point.

Aasim, When I said "in your own eyes", I was referring to the collective as well as the individual. The same would be true of me if I were to attack the tenets of Islam. It would be just my own opinion that is given in nonproductive dialogue.

I believe that you may be misunderstanding my point. The point that I was making was that the Christian Church was given "the true Gospel message". Now I believe that that is a fact of history for nearly the past two thousand years. Now whether you, or me, or anyone else accepts the truth of the Gospel message matters not one wit to its veracity. That is, I am saying that the proof of the veracity of the Christian Church message, is found in its two billion plus membership and its nearly two thousand year history.

Then once again, by stating what you believe—is simply stating the Islamic tenets or beliefs that belong to your faith. Just as the Christian Church was given and confesses the dispensation of the Gospel of God’s Grace. But what I was referring to in Genesis and Galatians, is what I understand as, the Biblical formation of the races that make-up Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If I am Biblically wrong here in this covenant separation of peoples, please correct me.

Aasim, I believe that this thought of replacement theology has been mistakenly held by many throughout the centuries. But those who do not understand this covenant principle of continuance cannot really understand the complete picture of God’s universal reconciliation. I am afraid that many are trying to understand these complex issues from just their own religious experiences in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

You ask—"Is my understanding flawed (dangerous question)?"

From the perspective of my understanding, I would obviously say—ah—I believe that I will pass on that question.

You then asked—"If we all share in the Covenant, and we all share in God's reconciliation, then why the Crucifiction, why the Atonement?"

Aasim, I would like to try to answer this extremely difficult and important question of—"why the Crucifixion, why the Atonement"? Basically, the Crucifixsion/Atonement was simply a necessary part of the process in God’s universal reconciliation. It was God, in the Old Testament, who first established the visible sacrificial system for the atonement for sin. This was done so we could understand that the sins of the creature could not just go unpunished—to simply forgive and forget. So we cannot just ignore the necessity of the atonement for sin that God has so meticulously established. We can now, through the tenets of the Christian Church, understand that these sin offerings that were made by the priests of Israel, were made as a precursor to something much greater. The Eternal sin offering that would substitutionally function in the supernatural realm. This is that perfect part of God’s plan that facilitates the formation and fulfillment of God’s universal reconciliation—the Abrahamic Covenant. This way, God, according to His tender mercy, could be gracious towards anyone of the World’s many populations—far beyond His first peoples. The Atonement was the reason that King David could write these words—

Psalm 32:"1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputes not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile."

Now this passage does not at all suggest that man stops his practice of sinning, but that God’s imputation for that sin against him is being graciously withheld. The real benefit that I see here in this passage is that this promised blessing from God is completely non-participatory. The recipient’s passive role here is always evident.

Then I have characterized this complex puzzle that we are confronted with, as the coexistence of God’s visible dispositions along side of God’s invisible dispositions. Consequently, our understanding is advanced only by our discernment of the distinct difference between God’s visible dispositions and God’s invisible dispositions. Very complicated—but really quite simple when we understand how God has revealed Himself through His established visible dispositions.

And then your last question—"If Jews and Muslims equally share in God's mercy, why then did Jesus(pbuh) need to "die"?"

This is also an extremely important question, as it has a clear connection to the previous question. Jesus’ sacrificial death upon the cross was designed to completely satisfy God’s demands on the creature’s sin debit. "He (Jesus) who knew no sin became sin for us". "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us". I would also like to say that these passages are not just passages for the Christian Church, but that these passages are efficacious for Judaism and Islam as well.

Then your question also demonstrates the limited view that many have placed on the covenant structure. You have rightly included both the Jews and the Muslims into God’s gracious covenant, but God’s plan was always to be much more inclusive—"For God so loved the World". Which is the universal covenant principle that God mandated for and through the Christian Church. I would still contend that the Christian Church is the God established institution for the manifestation and demonstration of God’s invisible dispositions.

God’s Spirit of truth is always near. Amen

Aaron

 

From Aasim #69

Peace to all,

Aaron,

You wrote:

This is also an extremely important question, as it has a clear connection to the previous question. Jesus’ sacrificial death upon the cross was designed to completely satisfy God’s demands on the creature’s sin debit. "He (Jesus) who knew no sin became sin for us". "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us". I would also like to say that these passages are not just passages for the Christian Church, but that these passages are efficacious for Judaism and Islam as well.

Please refer especially to the two underlined portions of this excerpt.

This passage is absolutely not efficacious for Islam simply due to the fact that Islam teaches the exact opposite! So, how can "continuism" fit into this example?

-Aasim

 

From Aaron #70 5-18

Musa

Peace

You begin—"I believe that the Bible states Matthew wrote that Jesus said to his followers to keep Moses law. Do you follow the teachings of Jesus?"

Your question as to whether we follow the teachings of Jesus is really a bit insulting and would be denigrating to most Christians.

But to answer your question: Jesus, like His Jewish kinsmen, kept and taught the Torah by command as a demonstration of God’s visible dispositions. But then, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, we have learned that the teachings of Jesus contain much more. He was announcing not just the continued reality of the Law, but the future manifestation and fulfillment of many its prophecies. He was announcing the pending manifestation and explanation of God’s invisible dispositions. Bringing the hidden things of God to our understanding, by bringing His followers to a higher level of Spiritual awareness and enlightenment.

Musa, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe in the One Creator God! And we must all see that Judaism is Judaism, Christianity is Christianity, and Islam is Islam. They are not the same! So then we need to examine exactly what is our problem? What is the express purpose for attacking another religion’s faith?

You write—"When I walk into churches I see figures and pictures that represent people. The name of Jesus is invoked instead of the One who Jesus taught the people to invoke: Allah (glory be to Him)"

I would like to respond in this way. First, you have never been present in all of the different Christian Churches—so you really cannot speak for every Christian Church. So what you speak here would of necessity appear as something less than the complete truth. Your implication that the Christian Church does not invoke the Name of the One Creator God within their Congregations is wholly FALSE. I do not believe that you will find one Congregation within the main line denominations that does not invoke the Name of the One Creator God. I believe that your problem concerns the Christian’s understanding of the Divinity of Jesus, of the Godhead, and of many of the other numerous Christian tenets as well. It is true that many Churches have taken undue liberties—even to the appearance of idolatry. But I believe that you speak about things concerning the Christian Church of which you have little or no real understanding. So then I would ask you this—did God make you a judge, that you could judge the intent of the Christian’s hearts? It would seem that many in the Islamic faith have freely taken that liberty upon themselves.

These are the exact things that I spoke about in my earlier post. And I thought, according to Aasim, that the Gospel of John was corrupted and anathema to Islam. But since you make mention of that portion of the New Testament, I will take that liberty to respond. I do not believe that the Gospel of John make such a statement— "Muhammeds teachings have replaced Jesus's teachings just as he said they would in the book of John." Now if I have overlooked something there in John’s Gospel, please tell me exactly where I might find the statement that you refer to?

Then once again here, we see that the Muslims are presumptively trying to tell Christians what is correct about Christianity and what is not. In my opinion, that particular approach is a fundamental flaw within Islam. Even though there appears to be an obvious difference here in our religions, I do not have the need to trash the Muslim faith in order to have the comfort and assurance of my own.

Now I would never want to presume to speak for all Christians, but primarily for myself. And I am also very sorry to have to say this. But except for my desire to heal the schism that exists within the religions, I honestly do not believe that you will find many Christians who are overly concerned with what Muslims might think about Jesus, the Bible, the Apostle Paul, the Christian Church, or anything else. This attitude is the result of all of the Muslim’s negative commentary on the Christian faith. It seems to always come back to this—it just appears as if you are simply trying to legitimize your own religion at the expense of Christianity. "Muhammeds teachings have replaced Jesus's teachings"? Not really! Never has happened, and never will happen. You see we will all have to answer to God for ourselves, not to one another. For which I am very thankful. Once again, during this year of God’s favor, this dispensation of God’s grace, I do not believe that God made any one religion a judge over the others—not Judaism, not Christianity, and not Islam.

And forgive me once again for my direct speech and for my lack of patience.

God’s love and mercy is always near His peoples.

Aaron

 

From Aasim #71

Peace to all,

Aaron:

You wrote:

I honestly do not believe that you will find many Christians who are overly concerned with what Muslims might think about Jesus, the Bible, the Apostle Paul, the Christian Church, or anything else.

I think you will also find the same as being true for the vast majority of the Muslim community.

But what I find interesting, is that it appears to me that the average Muslim knows more about Jesus(phub) and the Gospels than Christians know about Muhammad(saw) and the Quran. Could it be that many Christians do not think about what Muslims think because they think of Islam as being unimportant, false, and illegitimate? So, in a sense it is not only a comfort with their own faith, but perhaps a smug arrogance, also? What about the evangelists going to Muslim countries under the guise of humanitarian aide, only to "spread the Gospel and cast out the evil of Islam"? What about the dozens of Christian radio talk shows that contantly misrepresent Islam, claim Islam is false, and defame the name of our Prophet(saw)?

When I was a Christian, I saw plenty of this. I was just wondering what your thoughts on it may be.

You also wrote: And we must all see that Judaism is Judaism, Christianity is Christianity, and Islam is Islam...

So, again I would ask, where does continuance fit into this schema? If I were a teacher, and I taught you three chapters, would it make sense to remain in chapter one or two?

Or if I were a scientist who thought the world was flat, and then discovered it was round...should I still believe it to be flat?

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Rick #72 5-19

Hello Aasim,

You asked, "But what I find interesting, is that it appears to me that the average Muslim knows more about Jesus(phub) and the Gospels than Christians know about Muhammad(saw) and the Quran. Could it be that many Christians do not think about what Muslims think because they think of Islam as being unimportant, false, and illegitimate?"

Most Christians in the Middle East are quite aware of the teachings of Islam. Most American Christians are ignorant of Islamic teaching, but they are ignorant of the teachings of lots of religions - even Christianity. Of course many Christians do think Islam is false just like many Muslims think Christianity is false.

As for Muslims knowledge of Jesus and the Gospels, I think it is because much of the Quran was written in response to Jesus and the Gospels. Some of the most fundamental teachings of Islam are that God does not have a Son and that the Messiah was not crucified. In order for a Muslim to understand his or her own faith, [s]he must understand something of Christianity. There is a lot in the Quran written about Jesus, the Gospels, and Christians. There is nothing in the Bible about Islam.

You asked, "So, in a sense it is not only a comfort with their own faith, but perhaps a smug arrogance, also?"

If you as a Muslim think that you are right and that Christianity is wrong, does that mean you are arrogant? I don't think so. Arrogance is displayed in the way you deal with other religions. I can be convinced that Christianity is right while still dealing respectifully with Muslims and Jews.

You wrote, "What about the evangelists going to Muslim countries under the guise of humanitarian aide, only to "spread the Gospel and cast out the evil of Islam"?

I suppose a lot of this is a matter of perspective. Many (though not all) of those evangelists are giving humanitarian aid because they believe that Christ commands them to love the poor and needy regardless of religion. They also "spread the gospel" because they believe that the gospel brings healing to souls just as their medical work brings healing to bodies. God will judge the intentions of each person's heart.

You asked, "What about the dozens of Christian radio talk shows that contantly misrepresent Islam, claim Islam is false, and defame the name of our Prophet(saw)?

Personally, I prefer to let Islam and Muslims speak for themselves. I think Muslims should also let Christians speak for themselves. Both sides are guilty of misrepreseting the teachings of the other. Both sides are guilty of defaming the name of the leader of the other. Both sides need to stop.

Warmly,

Rick

 

From Lewieke #73

"Could it be that many Christians do not think about what Muslims think because they think of Islam as being unimportant, false, and illegitimate? So, in a sense it is not only a comfort with their own faith, but perhaps a smug arrogance, also? What about the evangelists going to Muslim countries under the guise of humanitarian aide, only to "spread the Gospel and cast out the evil of Islam"? What about the dozens of Christian radio talk shows that contantly misrepresent Islam, claim Islam is false, and defame the name of our Prophet(saw)?"

Are muslims really that much different in this respect? Don't they claim that christianity is an aberration and that islam is the only true religion? If your goal is to 'break the cross', are you really less arrogant than the everage christian?

 

From Peregrin #74 5-20

Aasim Ahmad's: So, in a sense it is not only a comfort with their own faith, but perhaps a smug arrogance, also?

Arrogance, hardly. It has more to do with Christian faith and confidence the NT is right - Jesus was crucified. Jesus did rise again. And the Quran, unfortunately, denies this.

 

From Aasim #75

Peace to all,

Rick,

You are right. I am quite sure both sides are guilty of bad manners, arrogance, and duplicity: we are only human.

To all:

Let me ask this. As a Christian, what value, importance or example does Islam and the Prophet(saw) have in your life and understanding of God? Should Islam also be a part of Sunday School? As I understand it, many Christian education programs are including Judaism as supplemental study to better understand the "roots" of Christianity. So, do you think they should also include Islam? If not, why?

Peregrin,

Your response is exactly what I was looking for: arrogance at its sweetest!

If Christianity sees no merit or value in the Prophet's(saw) Message, then how can there really be "continuance" as Aaron suggests above? If we are three separate religions and faiths, how can we all be equally included in the Abrahamic Covenant? Do you see what I am getting at?

in faith,

Aasim

 

From Lewieke #76

"So, do you think they should also include Islam?"

I really wouldn't mind if they did; I would even be in favor. The Qur'an offers christians some serious stuff to think about.

By the way, is knowledge of the Bible taught at islamic schools or universities?

 

From Isk #77

"If Christianity sees no merit or value in the Prophet's(saw) Message, then how can there really be "continuance" as Aaron suggests above? If we are three separate religions and faiths, how can we all be equally included in the Abrahamic Covenant? Do you see what I am getting at?"

Exactly, for myself, I can't understand Aaron's inclusion of 'Islam'/Muslims in the Abrahamic covenant. The covenant with Ishmael was a separate matter, for his own national blessing. And Aaron also proclaims Christianity as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, so how can Muslims receive the blessings of the Covenant, if they have not accepted the Christianity which is the fulfillment of the covenant?

I prefer to give more weight to the links between Muhammad's proclamation, and the hanifs of Arabia, who followed the example of Abraham's faith and spirituality. However, I don't know if you would see hanifism as equal to your 'Islam'?

"....is knowledge of the Bible taught at islamic schools or universities?"

One doubts it, going by the serious misconceptions about Christianity which are displayed by most Muslims.

 

From Cornelia #78 5-21

Jesus's words on the subject of the Law:

(The Fulfillment of the Law)

Matthew 5


17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

From Aaron #79

Aasim

Peace

You write in post # 69—"This passage is absolutely not efficacious for Islam simply due to the fact that Islam teaches the exact opposite! So, how can "continuism" fit into this example?"

I would like to start with this brief response to your question. Importantly, I point out King David’s description of the passive role of every participant within God’s universal Reconciliation. Ref.Ps.32:1-2 This passive condition applies to everyone! Then Christ’s finished propitiatory work—His Atonement, is precisely the reason for the participant’s passivity. This may be one of the reasons you are having so much difficulty with accepting the Atonement. It would seem that you, as well as many others, have decided that you can take care of your sin problem yourselves. But in my opinion, by your elimination of the need for any Atonement for sin, you have all brought yourselves into a legal conflict with God’s Law. It is simply a matter of order. The fact that the participant failed to keep God’s Law ("while we were yet sinners") is what made the Atonement an absolute necessity. The creature is never capable of measuring up to God’s perfect Law—since we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is, because of its general application, the efficacy of the Atonement did not and cannot depend upon any one individual belief system, but is totally functional as a discretionary action of our Sovereign God. It was only because of the Atonement that God’s forgiving grace now flows throughout His whole creation. So then as far as the sins of the creation are concerned, from the beginning to the end, the full atonement has been made.

Aasim, I am speaking here from the perspective of how God ingeniously established a symbol of complete peace that would be inclusive of His whole creation. Then what was necessary for the accomplishment of God’s universal reconciliation—"the reconciling of the whole world", must be seen as functionally efficacious for God’s first peoples as well. What that means is that even since the beginning of time God’s ever present sovereign grace has always been the deciding force for reconciliation. We are now beginning to learn some of the specific details about how God has always dealt with His peoples. For this reason the efficacy that we have in view is absolutely universal. The continuation that I speak about is with respect to the defined order in which God has chosen to reveal Himself and His reconciliation through His peoples. That God’s reconciliation is a progressive process and not an event as such. Now this symbol of peace that God has facilitated here on earth for this "Year of Jehovah’s Favor" (Isa.61:1-2a), is precisely what allows for the whole of God’s creation to have access to their Holy Creator. Thus, the parameters/ or scope of the Covenant is what has changes to accommodate the whole of God’s creation. This is the universal covenant that has now become clear to our understanding. So for us to look at God’s universal reconciliation through any one of the religions by itself, would be looking at only a fragment of that reconciliation.

Sadly, many within today’s religions work on the premise of omission. That is, if something in God’s Word seems to contradict their individual understanding, then they just omit or discredit that portion of God’s Word. This sort of exegesis by any religion is misguided and meaningless to the others of faith!

Though I really believe that this portion of my post should have answered your question—"This is that perfect part of God’s plan that facilitates the formation and fulfillment of God’s universal reconciliation—the Abrahamic Covenant. This way, God, according to His tender mercy, could be gracious towards anyone of the World’s many populations—far beyond His first established peoples."

Consequently, we must take a covenantal approach to this present transitional understanding. It is as I have said many times before—that the commonality of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is found principally within the Abrahamic Covenant. I have also tried to share my glimpses of the complexities of God’s universal reconciliation—the revealed road to the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. We must also see that this understanding has broad eschatological ramifications as well.

Aasim, do you understand this last part of my post? "For God so loved the World". "Which is the universal covenant principle that God mandated for and through the Christian Church. I would still contend that the Christian Church is the God established institution for the manifestation and demonstration of God’s invisible dispositions." What this represents is God’s progressive action in His reconciling of the world.

I was also wondering if you understand what I am trying to say when I refer to God’s revealed visible dispositions that are coexistent with God’s revealed invisible dispositions?

I believe that God’s universal reconciliation can be properly understood only from the perspective of its entirety—we must be able to observe the complete picture. So then we must find this truth by observing the whole of God’s reconciliation—beginning with creation through the end of time: Where we will hopefully find God’s perfect plan through our observation of all of its arranged contiguous parts.

And so each individual within each religion must receive their own assurance from God, as to their individual place and purpose within God’s reconciliation.

Now as I understand God’s Holy Word, I continue to believe that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all covenanted parts of God’s universal reconciliation.

God’s symbol of peace is here: Isaiah 9: "6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end: upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." Amen. (RASV-1901)

Aaron

 

From Aasim #80

Peace to all,

Aaron,

With all due respect, please come off it!

Your express purely Christian views and then claim that it is my lack of insight keeping me from understanding these views.

And then you say that we all have a problem of ommision when your very own words are exlucive and omissive!!

Please, I've heard engough! (lol)

with respect,

Aasim

 

From Aasim #81

Aaron

You wrote:

Aasim, do you understand this last part of my post? "For God so loved the World". "Which is the universal covenant principle that God mandated for and through the Christian Church. I would still contend that the Christian Church is the God established institution for the manifestation and demonstration of God’s invisible dispositions." What this represents is God’s progressive action in His reconciling of the world.

So where does this leave Islam? How can Islam fit into your views of continuism?

Or perhaps Islam is God's progressive action in bringing the world to reconciliation? Would this not befit continuance?

in faith,

Aasim

 

<****> See #79

 

From Rick #82

Hello Aaron,

In order to clarify what you are saying, maybe you could answer some questions:

1. Are you advocating a kind of Christian universalism? That everyone ends up in heaven regardless of their religious background. However, they get there only on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection even if they didn't believe it.

2. Specifically, how does Islam as a religion fit into the Abrahamic covenant? I don't think many Christians would have trouble with seeing Arabs, Indians, Pakastanis, etc. as being included in the Abrahamic covenant, but you seem to be saying that Islam as a religion is somehow linked with the Abrahamic covenant. I'm not sure that the Abrahamic covenant dealt with religion at all - Christianity or Judaism included.

Thanks,

Rick

 

From Isk #83

"...Pakastanis, etc. as being included in the Abrahamic covenant,..."

That would only be possible by being a part of 'all nations shall be blessed in you', which can only be fulfilled in Jesus. Pakistan, the 'holy land', came into existence by the interaction with Christianity and Western culture in the midst of late Moghul Hindustan.

 

From Peregrin #84

Ahmad:

Arrogance at its sweetest? No, hardly, the perception is in your mind, not mine. Christianity stands on its own without someone else coming along and trying to reinterpret it, thank you.

Read Quran surahs 9:29 and 9:30. I get the distinct impression from that alone there is room for only one religion, Islam.

Repentance Surah 9:29 "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion [Islam] of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection."

Repentance Surah 9:30 "And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; those are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them [emphasis added]; how they are turned away!"

 

From Isk #85

Repentance Surah 9:30 "And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; those are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them [emphasis added]; how they are turned away!"

It would seem that Muhammad did not have the benefit of Inter-faith forums, and good manners. Obviously he seriously misunderstood both Judaism and Christianity. Let's not repeat or perpetuate his mistakes today!

 

From Penpal #86

1st Kings c 15 v 3
"utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling"

 

Deuteronomy c 7 v 24
"and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them."

 

Luke 14:26
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate
his own father and mother and wife and children and
brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he
cannot be My disciple."

Luke 19:27
"But these enemies of mine, who did not want me
to reign over them, bring them here and slay them
in my presence."

John 2:15
"And He made a scourge of cords,
and drove them all out of the temple,
with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables"

 

Deuteronomy c 7 v 2
"the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them"

 

Isaiah c 34 v 2-3
"the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood."

Isaiah c 34 v 6
"The sword of the LORD is filled with blood"

Isaiah c 34 v 7
"their land shall be soaked with blood"

Psalms c 110 v 5-6
"The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen,
he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries."

 

Esther c 9 v 5
"the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would"

Esther c 9 v 6
"the Jews slew and destroyed"

Esther c 9 v 16
"slew of their foes seventy and five thousand"

1st Kings c 15 v 18
"And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the
sinners [...] and fight against them until they be consumed.

Deuteronomy 13

13:6 If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your
daughter or the wife of your heart, or the friend who is as dear to you
as your life, working on you secretly says to you, Let us go and give
worship to other gods, strange to you and to your fathers;


13:7 Gods of the peoples round about you, near or far, from one end of
the earth to the other;


13:8 Do not be guided by him or give attention to him; have no pity on
him or mercy, and give him no cover;


13:9 But put him to death without question; let your hand be the first
stretched out against him to put him to death, and then the hands of all
the people.


13:10 Let him be stoned with stones till he is dead; because it was his
purpose to make you false to the Lord your God, who took you out of the
land of Egypt, out of the prison-house

 

From Peregrin #87 5-22

In the Tenach, most of these injunctions for the Israelites to remove the Canaanites was due to unsavory polytheistic Canaanite practices. This included child sacrifice and prostitute worship (both sexes). The Israelites never fully followed through. Instead, in Solomon's day, Israel made peace with her neighbors in favor of building the temple.

To the best of my knowledge, Judaism sees itself as a progressive faith whereby the forced removal of any peoples like the polytheistic Canaanites by means of extermination is no longer considered a viable option.

To the contrary, in Islam, Quran surahs 9:29 and 9:30 are still considered quite live and operable verses.

 

From Abrahamite #89 5-23

Re the verbal litany of quotes re destruction etc. ... let's not demean anyone's sacred texts by taking material out of their historical context and applying them to current understanding and aims. That is the realm of so-called fundamentalists who use religion to promote disharmony and hatred, and justify violence. There is of course, nothing fundamentally faithful in such positions.

Abrahamite

 

From Aaron #91

Hi Rick

Peace

You wrote in post #82--"In order to clarify what you are saying, maybe you could answer some questions:

1.Are you advocating a kind of Christian universalism? That everyone ends up in heaven regardless of their religious background. However, they get there only on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection even if they didn't believe it."

Rick, I see it as a sort of Universal Covenantalism. One’s participation in the Covenant blessings is dependant only upon one’s belonging to the Covenant. And ultimately, all of this belonging is completely in God’s hands.

Then the Atonement as I see it, was a legal requirement for the unimpeded progress of God’s universal reconciliation.

2. "Specifically, how does Islam as a religion fit into the Abrahamic covenant? I don't think many Christians would have trouble with seeing Arabs, Indians, Pakastanis, etc. as being included in the Abrahamic covenant, but you seem to be saying that Islam as a religion is somehow linked with the Abrahamic covenant. I'm not sure that the Abrahamic covenant dealt with religion at all - Christianity or Judaism included."

I seem to sense an ethnic connection between Ishmael and the populations who presently make-up the Islamic community. Then from my studies of the Abrahamic Covenant as its beginnings are described with some specificity in Gen.17:1-27, Ishmael was obviously an inclusive participant in the visible characteristic of this same covenant. God’s promise to Abraham was that Ishmael’s descendants would become a great nation.

I might believe that an identified "religion" as we know it, could be better defined as a group-relationship with the Creator God.

Then we also find that religions, like denominations, tend to be exclusive rather than inclusive. We each tend to see ourselves within our own religion as the real peoples of God.

God, grant us the ability to hold our peace?

Aaron

 

From Abrahamite #92 5-23

Aaron,

Re message # 79:

"This may be one of the reasons you are having so much difficulty with accepting the Atonement."

This forum is not a place for you to try to convince anyone that they should accept your or the Christian understanding of what constitutes atonement. In an interfaith setting it is important to remember that while people may gain an understanding of what you are conveying about your faith, this does not mean that the logical conclusion for them is then to assume your or your faith's understanding.

Accepting the right to hold a different faith's belief without that being belittled or negated is a critical component of fruitful dialogue. We must learn to agree to disagree, plain and simple, and build on commonalities and ways of co-existing with our differences.

Abrahamite

 

From Abrahamite #93 5-23

Dear Aaron,

Re: "Then we also find that religions, like denominations, tend to be exclusive rather than inclusive. We each tend to see ourselves within our own religion as the real peoples of God."

This is a major cause of the strife between faiths. Unfortunately, it is paradoxically a position held so often by the very people who convey and stress the universal nature of their faiths. Their universality seems to be contingent on everyone accepting their or their faith's version of how universality is to be exercised. As far as I am concerned, that is just another twist on religious chauvenism and exclusivism.

I feel that the real test of one how one understands and applies the universalism of one's faith is whether or not one can sustain a life of universal consciousness in the realistic context of, and respect for, the right to religious diversity. To put it very bluntly, the other approach seems rather a me, myself and my phenomenon - ultimately a form of spiritual masturbation.

Abrahamite

 

From Aaron #94

Dear Abrahamite

Peace

(As you have followed my dialogue on this forum, you know that I have used those very words—"We must learn to agree to disagree". I can say without hesitation that my intent here at this forum is not to change another’s faith, but that we all might better understand the intricacies of God’s gracious reconciliation. So I am very sorry that you have reached that conclusion.

It may be helpful here if you were to consider the entire statement, rather than a single line.)

"I would like to start with this brief response to your question.

(And Aasim’s question was—"So, how can "continuism" fit into this example?")

Importantly, I point out King David’s description of the passive role of every participant within God’s universal Reconciliation. Ref.Ps.32:1-2

("1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputes not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile." This passive condition applies to everyone!

I then wrote—"Now this passage does not at all suggest that man stops his practice of sinning, but that God’s imputation for that sin against him is being graciously withheld. The real benefit that I see here in this passage is that this promised blessing from God is completely non-participatory. The recipient’s passive role here is always evident."

What I am saying here, is that God Himself has taken care of everything.)

Then Christ’s finished propitiatory work—His Atonement, is precisely the reason for the participant’s passivity.

(What I meant by this statement, is that God, who knows the wickedness of every person’s heart in their failed condition, effected their complete reconciliation to Himself. What I want people to understand, is that the process of God’s reconciliation is revelatory. That even though the participant, because of their nature, is in a state of complete helplessness and hopelessness—Without their participation God’s perfect plan facilitated their reconciliation. The Christian Church is simply the established institution through which God is revealing more of the details concerning His reconciliation. Once again, God is always in complete control! To me, there seems to be a common failure on the part of many to understand the absolute sovereignty of God in all matters concerning His reconciliation. And then it is only by following His revelation to and through the Christian Church, that we can ever hope to understand some of the many intricacies of His reconciliation. And this is the basic reason that I reached the following conclusion:)

This may be one of the reasons you are having so much difficulty with accepting the Atonement. It would seem that you, as well as many others, have decided that you can take care of your sin problem yourselves. But in my opinion, by your elimination of the need for any Atonement for sin, you have all brought yourselves into a legal conflict with God’s Law. It is simply a matter of order.

(Here, I am simply directing a general challenge to Aasim—as well as the many like-minded-others, to examine their own sin in the light of God’s Law of atonement. I believe that the Old Testament mandates a sacrifice for the atonement for sin. Abrahamite, please comment as to my accuracy?)

The fact that the participant failed to keep God’s Law ("while we were yet sinners") is what made the Atonement an absolute necessity. The creature is never capable of measuring up to God’s perfect Law—since we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

(Then I believe that the following statement summarizes what is being said here:)

That is, because of its general application, the efficacy of the Atonement did not and cannot depend upon any one individual belief system, but is totally functional as a discretionary action of our Sovereign God. It was only because of the Atonement that God’s forgiving grace now flows throughout His whole creation. So then as far as the sins of the creation are concerned, from the beginning to the end, the full atonement has been made."

(What I meant, was that the Atonement, because it was always an integral part of God’s universal reconciliation, was never intended to be confined to a single religion.

I realize how difficult this dialogue is for every religion. It is very difficult for me as well. So believe me when I say that there is no offense intended towards any particular religion. I am simply speaking those things concerning the Abrahamic Covenant that have come to my understanding. The things that I am writing are supposed build-up not pull down. May God's will be done!)

God's grace is always near.

Aaron

 

From Abrahamite #95

Dear Aaron,

I don't think I have misunderstood.

In your last message you say:
"The Christian Church is simply the established institution through which God is revealing more of the details concerning His reconciliation."

Note you are saying more of the details and not other or different approaches to the same teachings.

"And then it is only by following His revelation to and through the Christian Church, that we can ever hope to understand some of the many intricacies of His reconciliation."

These are the sort of statements that lead me to refer to speak of chauvenistic and exclusivist thinking.

Abrahamite

 

From Aaron #96

Abrahamite

My friend

Peace

Your last post#93 surprises me a little. You write—"Their universality seems to be contingent on everyone accepting their or their faith's version of how universality is to be exercised. As far as I am concerned, that is just another twist on religious chauvenism and exclusivism." So with that, I must say that I am very sorry that this is what you were able to glean from all of my dialogue on universality. And since I have not found one person who completely understands this brand of universalism within the Abrahamic Covenant, I would think that a bit more dialogue might be desirable. I am saying that the Abrahamic Covenant is inclusive of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. So please tell me, where is the "religious chauvenism and exclusivism" in this form of universality?

I want you to know that I do not present my posts as a casual exercise, or in an attempt to confuse the religious issues. I am also aware of the huge obstacle course of differences that is involved in trying to understand our religious commonality. And yes, there are some, who ##3333 %x7. But I believe that this dialogue is necessary if we are to get past our religious prejudices and to see the larger picture of God’s universal reconciliation.

Believe me when I say—I am not doing these things by choice. These situations are extremely difficult for my particular configuration.

I have a question—Though I have told others that I was not really concerned with what they might have thought about the tenets of my faith, for which I make no apology, have you ever read where I have spoken despairingly towards, or attempted to de-legitimize, another faith?

A sincere thanks

Aaron

 

There was no further response from Abrahamite.

//////

 

Addition:

From Aaron

Musa

Peace

You asked—"In an interfaith dialogue correct way, can you explain what the intention of these religions are?"

The simple answer is that the three religions are presently seen as visible representations of the visible creature’s feeble effort to relate to the invisible Creator God.

As an example, one might say that the peoples of Israel would represent a God established visible institution, through which, by the use of God’s established visible initiatory rites, the visible creation had access to the invisible Creator God. The key here for the inclusion of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the above statement, is the inclusive character of the Abrahamic Covenant.

As I stated in another place (How does Judaism and Islam understand God’s Holy Spirit, #79)—"I believe that God’s universal reconciliation can be properly understood only from the perspective of its entirety—we must be able to observe the complete picture. So then we must find this truth by observing the whole of God’s reconciliation—beginning with creation through the end of time: Where we will hopefully find God’s perfect plan through our observation of all of its arranged contiguous parts.

And so each individual within each religion must receive their own assurance from God, as to their individual place and purpose within God’s reconciliation."

This is necessary because, from the covenant perspective, they are not intended to be the same. That is, the complete picture can be observed only when we are able to see the three religions as separate individual parts in the progressive fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—the continuum of God’s Universal Reconciliation.

Sincerely

Aaron

 

 

From Rick

Aaron,

I have to confess I have had some trouble comprehending exactly what you have been referring to in your posts, but this last one makes it clearer (I think!). I have just a couple of questions:

1. What is your basis for concluding that the Abrahamic Covenant is inclusive of different religions and not just different ethnic groups?

2. How do you reconcile contradictions between the various Holy Books - especially between the New Testament and the Quran?

3. Though universalism itself is not unique, I have not heard it supported from this point of view before. Is this your own personal interpretation or does it reflect the belief of a larger community?

Thanks in advance,

Rick

 

From Rick 6-17

Aaron,

Any chance of getting a response to these questions?

Thanks,

Rick

 

From Aaron

Hi Rick

Peace

Here are some brief answers to your questions:

1.  "What is your basis for concluding that the Abrahamic Covenant is inclusive of different religions and not just different ethnic groups?"

To begin, I believe that the Abrahamic Covenant is religious in character. It is the principle agreement that the invisible Creator made with His visible creation. Even from the very beginning, the Abrahamic Covenant was to be a universal covenant: It would ultimately include all peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations.

2.  "How do you reconcile contradictions between the various Holy Books - especially between the New Testament and the Quran?"

As we observe the religious traditions throughout history, some of the differences, or what might appear to us as contradictions, are usually the result of some individual interpretation. There must be a Biblical theological basis for our interpretative understanding. That is, only the Holy Bible itself can interpret the Holy Bible. And as an inclusive religion within the Abrahamic Covenant, Islam and the Quran must come under the same scrutiny of the Holy Bible—not the opposite.

3.  "Though universalism itself is not unique, I have not heard it supported from this point of view before. Is this your own personal interpretation or does it reflect the belief of a larger community?"

Rick, this understanding of covenantal universalism is reasonably new and well suited to this discussion. I have come to realize that this inclusiveness of the Abrahamic Covenant is the only understanding that will allow for a reasonable eschatological conclusion to God’s universal reconciliation. See RAPPROCHEMENT ESCHATOLOGY.

Sincerely

Aaron

 

From Rick 6-18

Thanks, Aaron, for taking the time to respond to my questions.

What is your biblical basis for assuming that the Abrahamic Covenant is religiously inclusive? As far as I can see, every direct or indirect reference to it refers to "peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations" as you said. But I don't see these categories as religious, but ethnic and cultural.

You wrote, "As we observe the religious traditions throughout history, some of the differences, or what might appear to us as contradictions, are usually the result of some individual interpretation." But I don't think that the Quran's denial of Christ's crucifixion and the Bible's affirmation of it are simply matters of personal intepretation. Both books appear quite clear and both books make different claims at least on this issue. I suspect that there are others as well.

You wrote, "I have come to realize that this inclusiveness of the Abrahamic Covenant is the only understanding that will allow for a reasonable eschatological conclusion to God’s universal reconciliation."

What's wrong with believing that God will reconcile the world through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19)?

Rick

 

From Aaron 6-19

Hi Rick

Peace

You ask—"What is your biblical basis for assuming that the Abrahamic Covenant is religiously inclusive?

As far as I can see, every direct or indirect reference to it refers to "peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations" as you said. But I don't see these categories as religious, but ethnic and cultural."

I am not sure that I fully understand your question. To begin, the Abrahamic Covenant, as defined in the Holy Scriptures, is the legal agreement that God established with Abraham and his entire posterity. And with the benefit of the New Testament revelation, we now understand that that posterity was to be inclusive all peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations. This is just as we are told in Gen.22:18; 12:3; 17:4; 26:4; Acts.3:25; and Rom.4:17a that "In your (Abraham's) seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". We must see that it was only through the Blessed Seed that the Abrahamic Covenant could reach its ultimate fullness. The progressive fulfillment of Abrahamic Covenant was the planed process that culminated in the continuum of God’s Universal Reconciliation.

You then write—"But I don't think that the Quran's denial of Christ's crucifixion and the Bible's affirmation of it are simply matters of personal intepretation. Both books appear quite clear and both books make different claims at least on this issue. I suspect that there are others as well."

If you have followed some of my posts, you probably know that I am not overly concerned with what the Quran might think about the Holy Bible. One could probably conclude that these religious books are, to some extent, the interpretations of men. But for myself, I have taken the view that only the Holy Bible can rightly interpret the Holy Bible. And I have tries very hard to base all of my conclusions on this indispensable interpretative practice. My question is this—Is the Quran Biblical? Can its writings stand-up under the scrutiny of the Holy Bible?

Finally, you ask—"What's wrong with believing that God will reconcile the world through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19)?"

Rick, God did reconcile, and is presently reconciling, the world through Christ. That is my whole point when addressing the progressive fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Because without the Blessed Seed, the Abrahamic Covenant would actually be, as it must now appear to most people—DEAD! And what a wonderful passage you sight—2 Corinthians 5:19. It allows us the 20/20 hindsight that is necessary for gleaning God’s mysteries from the Old Testament—including our full understanding of God's inclusiveness in the Abrahamic Covenant. Take this blessed truth from 2 Corinthians 5:19 and apply it to Genesis 17:1-27.

Sincerely

Aaron

 

No further response from Rick.

 

 

 

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  All text copyright © 2005 Aaron Randall. All rights reserved.  Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved.  Originally posted February 24, 2004.  Revised: February 20, 2009.