Let me just say that I am a Christian, and I have nothing against Muslims in general. It’s natural that different types of people are conditioned to see the world differently. It’s ok for you to believe what you believe. It’s ok to tell me all about your faith. It’s ok for you to convince me about your faith. As long as you treat me with dignity as a neighbor, we will get along just fine, for I will do the same. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t harm. We should all be talking and discussing ideas with one another in humility and with intellectual rigor. If so, we can learn which is the better way to live together.
However, what pains my heart is when people misunderstand each other, leading to unnecessary character judgments that end up hijacking the quest for love and truth – all because of hurt egos and ignorance.
The video below occurred in the after the David Wood vs Mhd Hijab debate, Tawheed or Trinity, and highlights how intellectual deficiency or closemindedness can lead to character judgments: https://youtu.be/Qna9JwClbSk.
In the video, Hot Discussion Between David Wood and Aqil Onque, shows how some Muslims dogmatically cannot see how an infinite God can be finite at the same time, or be in two different states at the same time. Because they think it’s such an impossibility, they automatically assume David must be lying. Cue the mocking and chest beating bravado. In doing so, they encourage others to think the worst of Christians. They think we are either dumb or dishonest. In David’s case, they think he is dishonest. They can’t even try to believe that this is David’s real belief about God. These are the roots of how wars start.
This post is not to refute Islam or Christianity. I only want to remove this one point of misunderstanding – that it is perfectly reasonable for a person like David Wood, the MAJORITY of Noble Prize winners in science and me to believe that an infinite being can have a finite extension. With this, my hope is Muslims at least can understand more about this possibility and won’t be so quick to label such people as liars. If you call Christians liars on this point, they will call you ignorant and brash; and then there is no progress.
So why do they think it’s an impossibility? Because of the great need to validate their own faith, confirmation bias will cause them to make snap judgments to anything that seems out of place. They won’t spend the same amount of time trying to reconcile “odd” passages the same way they will do mental gymnastics with the Koran. How can a rectangle be a circle? It’s impossible! How can an infinite be finite? It’s impossible. This is just COMMON SENSE, they cry in incredulity.
Hold up. Is common sense always right? If it were, it wouldn’t take the human community so long to recognize a genius like Einstein. You think no one laughed at him when he said that time can speed up or slow down? Or that somehow, all matter is actually made out of energy, and vice versa? Today, we regard Einstein as brilliant.
“So how can an infinite have a finite component? That’s just common sense. That’s IMPOSSIBLE. Stop lying!” They might say. My response is to let centuries of scientific research tell us what is really common sense and what is not. As it turns out, nature is full of “impossible” things, especially on a subatomic level.
Light is happening all around us, all the time. It’s right there in front of you, it’s just that we don’t see it; just like how the truth can be right in front of you and you can’t see it.
However, light impossibly behaves both as a wave and as a particle depending on the circumstances and who is observing it. Yes, you heard it right. Light seems to have a mind of its own and behaves differently depending on what is observing it. Albert Einstein himself wrote how “impossible” this Wave-particle duality is. He expresses the inability of the classical concepts “particle” or “wave” to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. As Albert Einstein wrote:
It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.
Classical physics has no explanation of how a wave can become a particle. Up to now, nobody knows how this is possible, because common sense says it isn’t. Yet, we build our most sophisticated technologies based on this law of physics.
A video on this here: https://youtu.be/DfPeprQ7oGc
Doesn’t this sound like the Trinity? 3 contradictory components that together complete what a maximally optimal God is. Light as a wave has no form and is just measured through “disturbances” in the EM field. As it travels, it stretches out through the whole medium and can even nullify other waves due to interference. Light as a particle is discrete and finite and cannot nullify other particles of light. Both a wave and particle are mutually exclusive, it is impossible to be both at the same time, yet modeling light as both fully explains light.
If light can be made out of two seemingly contradictory things, why can’t God? Isn’t He supposed to be greater? In fact, as a scientific fellow, I would question your god if he cannot do these things; because if nature can do something God (a maximally optimal being) cannot do, he’s not god.
It’s also crazy that the Bible even says “coincidentally” characterizes God with light (1 Timothy 6:16, John 8:12; 9:5, James 1:17) and even that “God is light.” (1 John 1:5)
Additionally, an infinite can logically give rise to a finite, you just can’t have it the other way round. Imagine God as an ocean so vast that it is infinite. If He chooses to take a bucket and scoop out some water and place it away from Him, that bucket of water is now finite, but the ocean is still infinite. In mathematical terms, if you subtract 1 from infinity, you are still left with infinity. But the 1 is still finite.
For those who believe God who is unbound by time and space, and have the maximum potential of all creation, to have 3 beings/functions where one is finite and all three make up God is not surprising, especially for those astute in physics and math.
Think about it. There is a reason why a vast majority of Nobel Prize winners in Science are Christians. Yes, the cream of the crop who analyze nature and logic for a living are Christians. That’s a whole bunch of INTPs in one group. Me too.
Just like them, I totally have no problems with the Trinity, that God is an infinite Father who rules and is worshiped, and a finite Son whose function was to show us love in ways we can understanding by dying for us, and an infinite Holy Spirit that indwells us, and counsels us. When I shower, I often talk to myself; and in talking to myself, I actually clarify my own thoughts. When deciding what to do about a major event in my life, there’s a part of me that is a risk taker, a part of me that wants to show mercy and a part of me that demands justice, all parts are equally strong and must be appeased before I can have peace carrying out my decision. Similarly, the Bible says that the Father Son Spirit are very close and are in perfect communication with one heart, and one purpose. It’s like they share the same nervous system within the same person. When one is grieved, they are all grieved at the same time. When one is glorified, they are all glorified. They don’t have to be three different Gods.
Try not to think of an earthly father, earthly son, and ghost-like in ghost stories. These are just names that God chose to use to describe it to us, I mean, we have to call these phenomena something, right? And the best way God can characterize those functions in a way we can understand is to use the typology of a Father, Son and Spirit. Think of them as functions of how God wants to operate and interact with the universe. And each way of operation requires certain characteristics. In other words, God is to rule the earth and be worthy of worship, but also to show his love for you by dying for you so you can understand what His loves mean, and He wants to indwell you and be your companion. He wants to do all of these things in the best possible way. The best ways have to be in vessels of different forms.
For example, I want to be a warrior for my wife. I must protect her. So my best form to do that would be a tough, big muscular form that wears body armor. I would be someone always ready for a fight, vigilant, silent, but deadly. But this person would not have the best body type to go dancing for example. But I also want to be someone she can identify with, go through all her life with, feels safe to share all her feelings and activities (like dancing) with. My best form might be to spend less time training martial arts and hitting the gym, I might have to be more like her and be sensitive new age. I can go to her reading club together, meet her girlfriends and be one of the gangs, dress frivolously, take myself less seriously and laugh at everything. Since I am human, I can only have one form. So maybe I should be somewhere in between tough and gruff, sensitive and whimsy. I’ll never be the best at both roles, just somewhere in between.
But God is different. He is not bound by my limitation. The best way to be that warrior to protect me is to operate as God the Father, everlasting conquerer, mighty to save, powerful warrior. But the best way to show love and tenderness to me is to be in a more familiar form, relate to me in my language, and be willing to show me love in paying the ultimate sacrifice, the giving up of his life for me. The best form for that is to limit Himself to a human, Jesus. But because He is God, He doesn’t need to compromise like me, He can create both vessels to be the best at both. Having three different forms is God’s way of doing things in the best possible way.
I’ll delve deeper into this idea of different forms as we segway into … what’s Bruce Lee’s favorite drink?
WATER (Whaaa taaaah)
You can have 3 different forms and still be of the same essence.
Steam is not water, water is not ice; yet all of it is dihydrogen oxide. They all have the same atoms and base molecular structure.
The different forms are optimal for different functions.
When I want to pump a gas engine, I need to use steam. If I need to quench my thirst, I need water. If I need to preserve my meats, I need to pour ice. So God can easily name the various attributes and ways He wants to interact with the universe as three different entities. They are the same being, but they have different roles.
The Father is the one that will dish out universal justice and is the prime object of our devotion and worship. He is the mighty warrior. He is the one that creates nature. In a way, He is the one that we respect and worship from afar.
The Son was the God’s attempt to communicate using our human love language to understand God’s love. Think about it. To demonstrate the extent of His love to us, He had to use a method that our limited knowledge can understand. A totally innocent, wise, high or moral value and powerful person, voluntarily chooses to die for people that are judging him as a criminal and are mocking him – frames the magnitude of God’s love for us. As a human that has gone through some injustice, I can understand this love. It is too difficult to love those who want to hurt you. Jesus did. This means far more to me than any miracle. For you can never see such a magnitude of love in a being of infinite power. Imagine if Warren Buffet, the billionaire, gave you $5,000. Does that really mean you mean much to him? That’s a drop in the bucket for him. It costs him nothing. God is infinitely more powerful than that, so even if he blesses us, how can we know the extent of his love for us? True love requires great risk. The reason why God had to make himself vulnerable is that it doesn’t cost an all-powerful God anything to love us. It’s not impressive. It’s impressive when you choose to lose everything for someone. So He came down as a human to talk to us. But He didn’t come down as a beta male loser. He was the lion and the lamb. He could command the seas and walk on water, but he chose to lay his life down. By doing so, He was showing us great respect, just as a person bows down to show respect. So the Son is God’s way to reveal himself in a more intimate way, and showing the extent of His love for us. God demonstrated by actions His great love through what Jesus did. Jesus is our personal savior, and we understand God’s love through His humanity.
The Holy Spirit is meant to be our intercessor, our personal counselor that always testifies to the heart of God in Jesus, and gives us wisdom every day. It’s God’s attempt to be active in our lives today. The Holy Spirit is our personal counselor and intercessor. This is the Spirit that is continually working on our behalf.
Hence, each form, an infinitely powerful Father, a vulnerable but perfect Son in human form, and a Holy Spirit that indwells us, is the perfect form to fulfill the way he wants to interact with us, in order to evoke all the best parts of us. Feelings of awe and wonder, feeling peaceful exhilaration in redemption, strength in humility, learning to be a king and priest, courage through evil times, grace and mercy, guidance in life.
It’s virtually impossible for God to ever convey how much he loves us unless He limits himself. He could paint lightning bolts in the sky saying “I love you” and do miracles. Well, God did that in the whole Old Testament, and that still didn’t change the hearts of many of the Israelites. He might bless you from time to time, but if the blessings cost him nothing, you will still not understand the extent of his love. He must make Himself vulnerable like Jesus. Similarly, if He dwells next to you, relating to you as a friend all the time (like the Holy Spirit), you might take Him for granted; hence a Father role that punishes evil, and will judge the devil is needed as well in order to deserve your respect and admiration. But because the Father can seem distant because He must punish evil and there is always traces of evil in us, the Holy Spirit comforts us, intercedes for us, so we can face God unafraid.
These are not three Gods with three different egos, these three complete each other and have only one ego. They are always in tandem, lifting each other up as those they are one. BECAUSE they are one, and have the same goal. They have three very different functions, but when put together, they complete how God wants to interact with His creation. Each individual Godhead is worthy of respect, but when put together, the sum is so much more than the parts. The sum is God, for God is defined as the maximal being. I am blown away how power, love, gentleness, intimacy, justice, mercy, infinite, finite can combine together to draw out the very best in fallen humanity.
Light shows us that in nature an entity can be both infinite and finite. H2O tells us that you can have three different states with three different characteristics and still have the same essence. These are the most abundant resources in the world. No wonder Paul said: “His [God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.” (Romans 1:20) The Creator left his imprint on his handiwork, as Paul pointed out.
If I have to build the perfect factory, I need the best architect, the best engineer and the best builder. As a human, I cannot be all three, but God who does the most perfect of work, can.
I don’t question it if God has an infinite and finite component or have 3 different states, I question your god if he cannot.
Oh, and to answer that innocuous question I had earlier. How can a rectangle be a circle?
It can work when a lower dimensional being interacts with a higher dimensional being. A pipe is a circle when viewed cross-sectionally down the pipe. It is a rectangle if viewed sideways through its length. Just as a 3 dimension pipe can be both a circle and rectangle to a 2-dimensional viewer, the same goes when a higher dimensional being like God is observed by a lower dimensional and finite being like humans. The more I was exposed to quantum mechanics and had to mathematically solve equations in higher dimensions, the more I realized how higher dimensions look to us; and how our “common sense” rules get broken.
I love this pipe analogy, it’s smoking.
PS: If you haven’t seen the recent debate between David Wood and Mohammed Hijab on the topic “Trinity vs. Tawhid”, let me summarize it for you. Hijab appeared more confident, focused, belligerent and convincing to those who do not know Arabic, Hebrew or other Islamic Scholars, and appeared to run over Wood. Hijab spent quite a bit of time speaking Arabic and HEBREW to appear more sophisticated. Wood wasn’t as sharp and did not insult Hijab at all, abiding by the debate guidelines. Some would say he looked weak. However, for people who know better, Hijab loses the debate because he continuously arrogantly bloviated about David’s lack of Arabic and Hebrew and proceeded to give Wood a “Hebrew lesson”. The condescension maximizes the damage once you realize he lied about being an expert on Hebrew and sprouted out nonsense about the meaning of Hebrew words. If you don’t know the difference between Elijah and Emmanuel, you have a major problem. That’s like saying 1 + 1 = 3. Once I catch you cheating, you automatically are disqualified, because I can no longer trust all that you say.
I left some links below to show this.