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Wrong Examples To Proof Trinity By Augustine (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

Jesus Christian And Christianity

Part 1:

The Doctrines Of Christianity.

Chapter 1:

Definition Of A Christianity. 

In Previous Post:

  • The Unity Of Three And One.

In This Post:

  • Proof Of Trinity By Means Of The Example Of The Mind:

Proof Of Trinity By Means Of The Example Of The Mind:

The first example presented by Augustine is that the mind of man is a means of instrument of knowledge. Generally, the knower, the thing known and the instrument of knowledge are three separate things. If one has the knowledge of the existence of Zaid,  one is knower, Zaid is the person or thing known, and one’s mind is the instrument of knowledge. To illustrate

Knower (person who knows)  .. ONESELF

Known (person who is known) .. ZAiD

Instrument of knowledge (means by which person is Known)  …… MIND.

In addition, one’s mind itself has knowledge of its existence. In such a situation, the mind is knower,  and is also itself the instrument of knowledge, because the mind acquired knowledge of itself through itself. This may be illustrated as follows:

KNOWER (person or thing who knows)…….  MIND

KNOWN (person or thing who is known)  ……… MIND

INSTRUMENT (means by which person or thing is known)….. MIND

It will be noted in this example that the knower, The known and the instrument of knowledge, although in reality three separate things, have become one. The knower, the known and the instrument of knowledge – each has a separate existence. But, in the second example, the three become one. Now, if anybody asks, who is the knower?  the answer will be the mind. If somebody asks, who is the known? the answer also will be the mind, and if somebody asks, what is the instrument of knowledge? the answer again will be the mind. Whereas, the mind is one. The truth of the matter is simply that the mind possesses three qualities – each of three qualities could be referred to as the mind, but one cannot on the basis say that the mind is three..

Augustine says that God is similarly an expression of three persons. Each one of the three is God, but this does not necessarily means that god is three, but he is in fact one.

In presenting this example, Augustine has shown great ingenuity. On fair reflection, however the problem is not resolved by mean of this example, because the mind is in the example in fact one and its Trinity is predicated and not real. Whereas, Christianity beliefs in both the unity of God and Trinity as being real.

This may be explained as follows: the man in the above example has three aspects; from one aspect, it is the knower, from the second aspect, the known;  from the 3rd, the means or instrument of knowledge. But from the viewpoint of external existence, the three are one.

The external confirmation of the knower is the same mind which is external confirmation of the known and the instrument of knowledge. It is not so that the mind that is the knower possesses a separate existence, and the mind that is the known has another separate existence, and the mind that is the instrument of knowledge has a third existence. But, the Father, son and Holy Spirit in Christianity are not merely existences. The external existence of the father is separate, that of the son is separate; and so is that of the Holy Spirit separate. These three external existence are, with regard to their effect, entirely separate and distinct. Augustine himself rights in the beginning of his book:

Yet not that this Trinity was born of the virgin Mary, and crucified under pontius pilate, and buried and Rose again the third day, and descended into heaven, but only the son, nor again that this Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when he was baptized;…….. but only the holy spirit not yet that this Trinity said from heaven “though art my son”… when he was baptized…. but that it was a word of the father only.

It is manifestly clear from this statement that the Christian Belief in the father son and holy spirit is not merely predicated, but is premised on each of the three having real, distinct and separate existence.

On the other hand, the knower, known, and instrument of knowledge, in the example set out above, do not each have a real and distinct existence; but, are three predicated aspects of one real existence. No intelligent person would say that the mind as knower possesses a separate existence; the mind as the known processes second separate existence; and the mind is the instrument of knowledge has a third separate existence; and notwithstanding the three are one.  Whereas the gist of the doctrine of Trinity is that the father has a distinct and separate substance; the son has another distinct and separate substance, and the Holy Spirit distinct substance; and, in spite of this, the three are one.

In short, the claim of Christianity is that both the unity of God and the three persons of the Trinity are real. But, in the example offered by Augustine, the unity is real but the number is not – it is predicated. Hence, the real unity of three and one is not established by means of the example. In regard to the large number of attributes in the single existence of God,  there is no controversy whatsoever. All religious belief that God despite being one has many attributes. He is most merciful, the Subduer, the knower of the unseen, the omnipotent – in this way, He has many attributes which do not in the least affect his Unity.

Accordingly, nobody says that the God which is most merciful is distinct and different; the God that is the Sabduer is also distinct; and the omnipotent God is something else. As opposed to this, the Christian faith asserts that the father separately is very God, the son is also separately very God, and so is the Holy Spirit a very God. And, despite this, these three are not Three Gods but one God.

Second Example:

Augustine has similarly presented another example. He says that the mind of every man loves its quality of knowledge; and it has knowledge of this love; hence, it is in relation to its knowledge the lover; and in relation to love the knower, that is to say:

The mind… In relation to its knowledge… The Lover. 

The Mind… In relation to its love… The knower. 

Consequently, three are three things: the mind, the lover and the knower – and these three things are one; because the lover is the mind; the knower is the mind; and the mind itself. In the same way, God has three persons: the essence of God (the father), his attribute of knowledge (the son), an his at attribute of love (the Holy Spirit). And these three are one God

This example is also based on the error that the mind is one assence and the lover and the knower are its two attributes which do not have any real and separate existence of their own. As opposed to this, the father according to Christian Doctrine is one essence, and the attribute of the word (the son) and that of love (the holy spirit) are two such attributes that possess their own separate substantial existence in reality. Hence, the unity is real in the example of the mind; and the situation of a predicated number is rationally possible. And, in the doctrine of Trinity, despite the reality of number, the reality of unity is claimed –  and this is rationally impossible.

if the belief the Christian faith were that God is one ssence and that his attributes of word and love did not have, apart from God, a separate real existence, then the example would be correct. In such case, there would be no difference of opinion on the issue between Islam and Christianity. The problem arises when the Christian faith decrees the attributes of love as having separate substantial existence. It believes in each of the three as god, and despite this, asserts that the three are not Three Gods. This can in no way whatsoever be reconciled with the example of the mind above. Because in the example the knower and the lover do not have a separate existence from the mind. Whereas, the son and the holy spirit in Christianity possess their own separate existence apart from the father.

Augustine made these two examples the basis of rational discussion. Both examples, however, as noted, are wrong, and do not in fact support the doctrine of Trinity.

In Next Part:

Alhumdulillah chapter 1 of this part has finished. Inshallah in next part Chapter 2 will start.

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