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What Is Christianity? (P-1, Ch-1) (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

Jesus Christian And Christianity

Part 1:

The Doctrine Of Christianity.

Chapter 1:

Definition Of Christianity.

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Christianity

In This Post:

  • Definition of christianity .
  • The conception of God in Christianity.
  • The Doctrine Of Trinity.
  • Unity in three.
  • Father, Son And Holy Spirit

Definition Of Christianity:

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Christianity

The Encyclopaedia Britannica define Christianity as follows:

The religion that traces its Origins to Jesus of Nazareth, whom it affairs to be The Chosen One (Christ)  of God.

Is definition of Christianity is very brief. Alfred A. Garvie has amplified this definition. In the article on Christianity in the Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics, he writes as follows:

We may define Christianity as the ethical, historical, Universal, monotheistic, redemptive religion , in which the relation of God and man is mediated by the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He thereafter explains each part of the definition in detail.

According him “Ethical” religion means that religion which periods and offerings are not made to obtain earthly boons (such as food, health, safety, e.t.c) but, above all, it’s sole object is to attain spiritual perfection and the pleasure of God.

Buy “Historical” religion he means that religion in which the pivot of thought and action is ceantered in a historical personality that is Jesus (Isa علیہ السلام). It is his word and act that has finally authority in Christianity.

“Universal” in his you means that Christianity is not confined to specific race or Nation but that it’s message is universal.

He defines Christianity as”Monotheistic” because, in spite of its believe in 3 persons, God is said to be one. He writes:

Although in popular belief and speech the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, or preferably try-Unity has often come perilously near Tritheism, Jet Christianity is essentially monotheistic, maintaining the unity of God as a Cardinal doctrine.

The final feature of Christianity in the above definition is said to be its belief in Redemption. In explaining this part of the definition, Garvie writes:

The followship between God and man is admitted to be interrupted by sin, and man must be redeemed to be restored to this fellowship. In this redemption, Christ alone is the mediator.

This is a brief definition of Christianity. In reality, however, the correct understanding of a religion can not be obtained unless one properly understand its Cardinal doctrines. We shall, accordingly, explain each of these doctrines and in detail.

The Conception Of God In Christianity:

In so far as the nature of God is concerned, Christianity does not differ in this regard from other religions. It also ascribes to God substantially the same attributes as does other religion. Maurice Relton writes:

The Christian conceives of God as a living being possessed of all possible perfections, or attributes. He is one capable of being apprehended though not comprehended,  by the finite human mind. A full and exact analysis, therefore, of his essence is beyond the power of our intelligence. What he is in himself is unknown, save so far as his own self disclosure has revealed it, generally in his relation to mankind, and specifically, in his revelation of himself in the person of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Doctrine Of Trinity:

Until this point, the matter is clear. Further on, however, the Christian explanation of the conception of God is extremely ambiguous and difficult to understand. Even the layman knows that God according to Christianity is composed of 3 persons : Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This doctrine of God is known as the doctrine of Trinity. In elucidating and interpreting this doctrine, however, the views of the Christian Scholars themselves are so divided and contradictory that it is extremely difficult to arrive with certainly at  one conclusion.

Who are 3 persons whose Unity, according to Christian, is God?  There is itself a difference of opinion in their identification. Some say that god is the totality of the father son and holy spirit. Others are of the view that the Father, Son and virgin Mary are three persons whose Unity represent God. Then,  what is the individual status of each of these three persons, and what is their relationship to the whole God which is referred to as Trinity. In answer to this question also, there are great difference of opinion. One group is of the opinion that each of the three person is God just as the whole is God. Another group is of the view that each of the three separately is God,  but when compared to the whole each has a lesser status and the word “God” has been used for each in a slightly wider sense. The third group is of the opinion that each of the three is not God, but that God is only the whole (Trinity).

Unity In Three:

In any event there are innumerable differences of opinion with the result that the doctrine of Trinity has become a nightmare. We shall present that interpretation and explanation of this Doctrine which appears to be Generally accepted by Christians. in the world of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the interpretation is as follows:

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity can be best expressed in the words:

” the Father is God,  the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God and yet they are not Three Gods but one God.. For like as we are compelled by the Christian Unity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or three Lords. “

What is the basis of permissibility in the eyes of Christians for regarding three as one, and one as three?  Before dealing with the answer to this question, we must understand the meaning of father, son and the holy spirit in Christianity.

Father:

The meaning of father according to Christians is the substance of God alone without any reference to attributes of speech and life. This essence in relation to the existence of the son enjoys the status of the principal. According to the interpretation of the well-known Christian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, the meaning of father is not that he has begotten anybody, orsuch a time has passed in which there was the father and not the son, but that this is divine terminology which purpose is simply that the father is the principle of the son just as the substance is the principle of the attribute. Otherwise,  since that time the father was in existence, the son was also in existence, and neither of them enjoys any priority in time over the other.

Why is the essence of God reference to as the father? In answering this question Alfred A. Garvie writes that:

In relation to man, god is father by which is meant not merely man’s creatury dependence on God, or personal affinity to God, but God’s love to man, and his purpose to bring man into Fellowship of love with himself.

Son:

The meaning of Son according to Christianity is the word of God. This is however not similar to the word of human beings. In distinguishing between the word of God and the word of man, Aquinas writes:

In human nature the word is not something subsistent, and hence it is not properly called begotten son. But the divine what is something subsistent in the divine nature  and hence he is properly and not metaphorically called son, and his principal is called father.

According to Christian belief, the knowledge of God to whatever extent is obtained through this attribute. This attribute like the father is eternal and ancient. It was this attribute of God which became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ because of which he was rettered to as the son of God. The doctrine of incarnation enjoys a specific status and we shall therefore deal with it in detail later. (In-Sha-Allah).

Holy Spirit:

The meaning of the Holy Spirit the attributes of life and love of the father and son. That is to say, the essence of God (father) loves by means of these attributes its attribute of knowledge (son), and the son likewise loves the father. These attributes, like the attribute of word, exist in substance, and are eternal and everlasting as the father and son. For this reason, the holy spirit enjoys the status of a separate person.

According to Christian belief, these attributes (Holy Spirit) descended on Jesus in the form of a dove when he was baptized (Mathew: 3:16). Thereafter,  when Jesus was raised to Heaven, this very holy spirit descended in the form of tongues as of Fire on the disciples of Jesus on the day of Pentecost.
In short, therefore “Tri Unity” means that God comprises of three persons, the essence of God referred to as the father, the attribute of the word of God referred to as the Son, and the attributes of life and love of God referred to as the holy spirit. Of these three, each one is God. However, the three together are not Three Gods but only one God.

In Next Post:

  • The unity of Three and One.
  • Proof of Trinity and their answers

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