Muslim Objections to Christianity: Christians Worship Three Gods

This is the third post in a series posts about some of the biggest objections Muslims have with Christianity.

Objection #3: Christians Worship Three Gods

The doctrine of the trinity makes Christianity unique among all of the world’s religions. Islam is a monotheistic religion, and to suggest that there are “three gods” would be blasphemy. One of the primary articles of faith in Islam is the shahada that Muslims are known to repeatedly say; “There is no God but Allah.” When we add to the fact that the doctrine of the trinity is not explicitly stated in the Bible, acute Muslims will point out that there is nothing in the divine books (the Old Testament and Quran) which reveals any triune concepts.[1]

The logical possibility of God being one and three at the same time is also impossible for the human mind to fully grasp. Thus, at this point it seems that a Muslim has found a quality objection. K. Dayton Hartman writes, “Muslims object to the Trinity, not only because it violates the description of Allah in the Qur’an, but because it is believed to be logically impossible.”[2]

A popular way for Muslim theologians and scholars to present that absolute unity of Allah is by analogy to undifferentiated unity. As Hartman points out however, undifferentiated unity is only a mathematical possibility rather than a physical reality. “If one were to look unto the natural order to find an example of undifferentiated unity, nothing would be discovered. In fact, rather than undifferentiated unity, nature reveals a multitude of examples for plural unity.”[3] Comparing a stone to a tiger, we see that nature itself reveals a plethora of examples for plural, not undifferentiated, unity. Timothy Tennent illustrates this point by writing,

“A stone has little internal differentiation. If you split a stone in to two pieces, you have not destroyed the essence of the stone; you have created two smaller stones. However…If you cut a tiger in to two pieces, you do not get two smaller tigers. In the act of dividing the tiger you destroy the very essence of the tiger. A tiger, although a complex and internally differentiated creature, has an indivisible essence because it cannot be separated without destroying that essence.”[4]

It can be taken from this that the unity of a tiger is more complex and greater than that of a stone. Therefore Hartman states, “First, complexity does not negate unity…. An object can be complex, yet entirely unified. Second, internal differentiation does not contradict absolute unity…. Last, throughout the created order, illustrations of complex unity can be presented.”[5] From animals to human beings, the examples of unity possessing complexity are endless. Hartman ends by stating, “While different from one another, the parts of the body would cease to function if they were to be separated from the essence of the body. Thus, plurality and unity are entirely compatible.”[6]

Lastly, the trinity presents a God unapproachable by any other type of god. While the trinity may be difficult to fully comprehend, it does hold up under philosophical and even practical scrutiny. The same cannot be said of the Quranic description of Allah. We cannot say that Allah is “love” or that there is any theological basis for human community in Islam.

For if Allah is one, he was the only thing in existence before he created anything. Therefore, Allah did not love until he created, making him dependent on his creation in order to love. This can be contrasted to the Trinitarian God of the Bible who indeed has loved for all eternity. Being three in one, this God is not dependent on creation or anything else to love or to live in community.

Why is there no theological basis for human community in Islam? “This is because, prior to creation, Allah was not relational because he existed in total isolation. One must remember that theology precedes anthropology. Consequently, if Allah does not exist in community, there is no basis for human community. Likewise, there is no rational foundation for assuming that the personal can originate from that which is impersonal. A monad god could not create beings who desire community.”[7]

Oppositely, because the Christian God lives in and desires community, it is easy to explain why humans are relational beings. The Christian concept of God is also accessible to his creation through Jesus. Due to the fact that Allah was non-relational prior to creation, it stands to reason that it he would be incapable of providing a basis for human community.

While the concept of the trinity is impossible to fully comprehend, it presents us with a much greater view of God than a single and solitary being. Hartman concludes, “The Trinity conveys the overwhelming brilliance of a loving God Who exists in a vibrant community of love. Therefore, the church must not shy away from confronting Islam with the tri-unity of God.”[8]


Other posts in this series:

Muslim Objections to Christianity: The Bible Has Been Changed
Muslim Objections to Christianity: Jesus Did Not Die
Muslim Objections to Christianity: Jesus is Not the Son of God


[1] Ibn Taymiyya,  A Muslim Theologian’s Response to Christianity (Delmar, NY.: Caravan Books, 1984), 256. Cf.  W.M. Baagil, Christian-Muslim Dialogue (Kuwait: Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, 1980), 16.

[2] K. Dayton Hartman II, “Answering Muslim Objections to the Trinity,” Answering Islam, October 1, 2013, accessed October 1, 2013, http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/hartman/trinity_objections.html.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Timothy Tennent, Christianity at the Religious Roundtable (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 158.

[5] Hartman.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

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