THE STORY OF MONOTHEISM AND THE TRINITY IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY
“And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. "Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, 'worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.” (Holy Quran 5: 116- 117)
If Jesus (PBUH) and his contemporaries did not claim that he is divine, how did these creeds come into Christianity?
Answering the question, I say, “It was Paul who inserted them into Christianity.” It was Paul, the Jew, who was the enemy of Christianity, who claimed seeing Jesus (PBUH) after Allah (S.W) lifted him up to heaven. He took these creeds from many pagans, which make some people holy, considering them sons of God. “And the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!”(Holy Quran 9: 30).
The Importance of Paul in Christianity
Paul is the most famous writer amongst the New Testament writers, and he is absolutely the most important evangelist. He wrote fourteen Epistles, which are almost half of the New Testament, and only in these Epistles do we find many of the Christian creeds. Paul is the founder of Christianity and its creeds, and he is the only evangelist who claimed prophethood among the others.
Paul’s Epistles are the supportive pillar of this altered Christianity. His Epistles were the first written documents in the New Testament, and are slightly similar to the others, especially the Book of John. The Church had rejected many other epistles that conflict with Paul’s Christianity, which suppressed Jesus’ and his disciples’ Christianity.
The influence of Paul in Christianity is undeniable.That made Michael Hart, in his celebrated work, “the 100, a ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History”; place Paul among the most importantinfluential people in history. He placed Jesus (PBUH) third, and Paul sixth.
Regarding the reason for placing Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) at the followers are the majority on earth, Michael Hart said, “Christianity was not established by one person but by two: Jesus and Paul. Therefore, the honor of establishing it must be divided between both of them. Jesus had established the moral principles of Christianity, its spiritual views, and everything about human behavior; and Paul was the one who developed its Theology.”
He added, “Jesus did not preach any of Paul’s sayings, and Paul is considered responsible for Jesus’ Divinity”. Hart also brought to our attention that Paul did not use the term ‘Son of Man’, which Jesus (PBUH) used to call himself.
In his book ‘The Expanded Universe’, Sir Arthur Findlay said, “Paul was the one who established the religion called Christianity.”
Paul and Jesus’ Divinity
If the Gospels – excluding the Book of John – have nothing to prove Jesus’ (PBUH) divinity, Paul’s Epistles are full of passages that exaggerate Jesus (PBUH) and passages considering him as a rare and unique person. Then, what did Paul say about Jesus (PBUH), did he consider him as a prophet, God incarnate or…?
Reading Paul’s Epistles carefully, we find contradictory answers from one Epistle to another, for some passages declare his humanity (PBUH), and others declare his divinity. Does this contradiction come from Paul’s fickle changes according to his listeners, was it because of his thought development about Jesus (PBUH), or was it because of these Epistles’ alterations and fabrications? All these are just possibilities, without certainty.
Among these passages, which talk about Jesus (PBUH) as a servant of Allah (S.W) but different from other people because he was loved and chosen by Allah (S.W), Paul said, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”(Ti.1 2:5)
Confessing the Oneness of Allah (S.W), Paul said, “to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.which he will display at the proper time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. who alone has immortality.”(Ti.1 6:14 - 16). Thus, Jesus is lord, but only Allah (S.W) is the Lord of lords. These passages and many more talk about Jesus (PBUH) as being human, yet different from others; for, Allah (S.W) loves him and chose him to deliver His message.
Other passages are full of Jesus’ (PBUH) exaggeration, making him – almost - a real son of Allah (S.W), which may indicate that there is a difference between Jesus’ son-ship and other son-ships in the Holy Bible. This is clear in some other passages, which consider Jesus (PBUH) as God’s image or God incarnate.
He said, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh”(Rom. 8:3)
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up”(Rom. 8:32)
He added, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman”(Gal. 4:4) which indicates a real son-ship of Jesus (PBUH), for, all believers are sons of God – metaphorically – and are born of women.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”(Col. 1:15)
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”(Phil. 2:6-7)
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh”(Tim.1 3:16)
“And at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior.”(Titus 1:3). Therefore, Paul is the only one among the New Testament writers who talked of Jesus’ (PBUH) divinity.
Scholars talked about the conditions that made Paul say what he said about Jesus’ (PBUH) divinity, and the resources, from which Paul derived this belief.
The areas, in which Paul preached, were full of myths that spread and were accepted by the naïve, who were the majority of the people at that time. In addition, those communities were idolatrous; they believed in multiple gods, their incarnation, and their death. In their journey to Lystra, Paul and Barnabas performed some miracles: “And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes.”(Acts 14/11-12) Zeus and Hermes, according to the editors of the Holy Bible Dictionary, are names for two of the Greek gods; the first is the great god and the second is the god of eloquence.
Thus, those simple people believed that Paul and Barnabas were gods, just because they did some miracles. Moreover, the Book of Acts mentions that the priests offered a sacrifice for them, but they did not because Paul and Barnabas rejected that. (Acts 14:13-18)
What would those people say about Jesus (PBUH) who brought the dead to life, he himself rose from the dead, and performed many miracles?
The idea of the incarnated gods was acceptable for pagans, who made dates and celebrations for the incarnated gods’ birth, death, and resurrection. Therefore, Paul spread the story of God’s descent to the earth for the Romans to see, and to be close to them.
The churches in which Paul preached adopted and accepted this belief more than other churches, accepting the idea of the human God, as it was worshipping idols before that.
Jesus’ (PBUH) divinity became an official belief in Christianity after the First Nicene Council, which decided Jesus’ divinity, and the First Council of Constantinople completed the Trinity when they deified the Holy Spirit.