Is (Trinitarian) Christianity Monotheistic?
Christianity inherits monotheism from the Jewish faith, as Christianity primarily is – Messianic Judaism. Therefore, before we begin our quest in solving the title’s question, we must ask another important question. Is Judaism monotheistic? The answer for our purposes is yes. Both Muslims and Jews can agree on the Shema Yisrael which is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, it reads:
Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
This is essentially the same as what is presented to us in Surat al Ikhlas (Ch. 112) in the Qur’aan:
Say: He is Allaah the One.
If we are to be honest and if we wish to examine Christianity as the post-Christ Judaic faith of which it presents itself as, then our understanding of monotheism must be based on the Shema Yisrael. The problem therefore is, does Christianity adhere to the Shema Yisrael?
The Christian Problem of Monotheism
The Shema Yisrael is a clear declaration of who God is, He is one absolute deity. A problem arises if we are to alter the Shema Yisrael in any of the following ways:
- Interpreting the Lord to be more than One.
- Adding anything to the Shema Yisrael.
- Disagreeing with the Shema Yisrael.
- Abolishing the Shema Yisrael.
How is the Shema a problem for our Christian brothers and sisters? Their interpretation of the Shema, breaks the logic of the Shema. Allow me to explain, the Nicean creed which declares the Shema albeit in a Christological form states:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty….
And in one Lord Jesus Christ….
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life….
This isn’t what the Shema states, for what we count here is not One Lord, but three. The Christian excuse of, “three united as one”, breaks the Shema as the Shema itself never mentions: three lords or the unification of lords. Rather the Shema has stated and clearly so, that the Lord, is One. It does not say:
- The Lords are one.
- The Lord is united as one.
- The Lords are united as one.
- The Lord is one of three.
Reconciling the Shema Yisrael with the Christian Reading
The Christian cannot read the Shema Yisrael without having to read into it, one of the four additions presented previously. This therefore signals Christianity’s departure from monotheism and it’s entrance into tri-theism, moreso, into polytheism. The Shema has been tainted, even if it is slightly tainted, it still differs with the Shema Yisrael, and any difference, renders it to be not the same.
Let’s use the analogy of two planes travelling in a straight line. The first plane flies 50 miles North and lands safely. The second plane flies 50 miles North, but at its take off it’s off by one degree. After 50 miles of travelling, one degree off, it cannot land at the same airport, for as the distance grows, the slight deviation of one degree, places it in a completely different location.
This is the same with God. A God who differs, even very slightly with another God – cannot be the same God. Therefore when Christians claim to worship the God of the Jewish Jesus or the God of the Jewish Tanach, they are fooling no one but themselves, as this is a God who is absolutely not the same as the Jewish God.
For arguments sake, let us accept that Christians worship the same God as Jews do. Does YHWH, the Jewish God, have two distinct natures as per the hypostatic union? Can this be proven from the Tanach? Using the writing from some of Christianity’s foremost apologists, we see the following:
- CARM’s article on the Hypostatic union sources not a single quote from the Old Testament where the Hypostatic union is mentioned, described or ascribed to YHWH.
- Answering Islam’s, Keith Thompson in his article expounding upon the Hypostatic union, once again does not quote the Old Testament.
It is quite funny to note that there is no widely available Christian literature on the Hypostatic union’s presence in the Tanach. Anthony Rogers whose fame comes from asinine assertions of the Christology of Christ in the Old Testament – has not a single article demonstrating the teaching of the hypostatic union in the Tanach.
Sam Shamoun who spends days arguing with Muslims and trying to teach that the Trinity makes sense – out of his hundreds of articles, not a single one teaches the role of the hypostatic union in the Tanach.
The problem therefore is clear, Christians cannot reconcile the Shema Yisrael with their tri-theistic doctrine(s), as the Tanach is silent on such teachings.
The Theological Conundrum that Christians Must Face
If the Shema Yisrael is from the same YHWH that Jews worship – as Christians claim, then we’re left with a very major problem. Since the unity of YHWH with Himself is not mentioned and the hypostatic union (two of the foremost doctrines of Christian theology) is also not mentioned, we can only conclude that:
- YHWH hid the truth about himself and thus deceived the world. Is YHWH a deceiver?
- YHWH lied about Himself and did not state the full truth about His existence. Is YHWH a liar?
- YHWH is a different God than the YHWH which Christians worship.
It is possible that as little as one of the above points can be true, to as many as all three being the truth. It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that the true God took several hundred years to mention that He is more than one person, that He is actually a unity of persons and that the hypostatic union exists.
For what reason could a true God – hide these things and fail to mention it in any previous scriptural or divine revelation?
The Trinity is literally, the Tri-Unity. Three is clearly more than one, the unity – logically makes the three one. I won’t argue against this, but then the problem does arise, if the Tri-Unity is monotheistic, then the Unity must’ve been mentioned before in the monotheistic declarations of YHWH.
However, just as the mention of the persons of God, the unity of God and the hypostatic union of God are all absent in the Tanach, so is the Trinity. One Christian apologist does try to answer this question. Anthony Rogers of Answering Islam mentions a few references in an article dedicated to finding the Trinity in the Old Testament – although the article does not once mention the hypostatic union being found in the Tanach.
He says and I quote:
The word Elohim is used thousands of times for “God”; Adonai is used hundreds of times for “Lord”; both of these words are plural nouns in Hebrew.
A number of passages speak of the “faces” or “presences” or “persons” of God (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 4:37; and Job 13:8).
In rebuttal to his first claim, it would mean that Anthony believes that Moses – the esteemed Jewish Prophet of God was a schizophrenic, for the Tanach says:
The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made thee a godאֶלהִים, (Elohim) to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” – (Exodus 7:1).
The word Elohim is used in reference to Moses, since it is in the plural form, do Christians believe that Moses is more than one person? Outreach Judaism, in refuting this silly claim says in one of its more important articles:
The word Elohim possesses a plural intensive syntax and is singular in meaning. In Hebrew, the suffix ים (im), mainly indicates a masculine plural. However with Elohim the construction is grammatically singular, (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective) when referring to the God of Israel, but grammatically plural elohim (i.e. taking a plural verb or adjective) when used of pagan divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7).
This is self-evident from the fact that the verb “created” בָּרָה (bara) in Genesis 1:1 is in the singular. This linguistic pattern is well known and widely used throughout the Jewish Scriptures. For example, I am certain that many readers are familiar with the Hebrew word חַיִים (chayim), meaning “life.” Notice that this word contains the identical plural suffix “im,” as in Elohim, yet it repeatedly means “life”, in the singular, throughout the Bible. Examples are:
And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life חַיִים (chayim) be to me?” (Genesis 27:46)
You have granted me life חַיִים (chayim) and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit. (Job 10:12)
The fact that the name of God, Elohim, does not in any way imply a plurality in the godhead is well known and widely recognized even among Trinitarian Christians. For example, in the New International Version Study Bible (NIV), which is a Christian commentary that can not be construed as friendly to the Jewish faith, the Christian author writes in his commentary on Genesis 1:1:
God created. The Hebrew noun Elohim is plural but the verb is singular, a normal usage in the OT when reference is to the one true God. This use of the plural expresses intensification rather than number and has been called the plural of majesty, or of potentiality. (New International Version Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 6.)
In reference to his second argument, merely reading the verses themselves is evidential enough to realise that he’s being dishonest:
- The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14.
- Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, – Deuteronomy 4:37.
- Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God? – Job 13:8.
Absolutely no sign of plurality indicated, no mention of the ‘persons of God’, this only goes to show how desperate Christian apologists are to qualify their faith and to prove that it is monotheistic – that they have to sink as low as lying about their God and their Holy Scripture.
The question – ‘Is Christianity Monotheistic’, has clearly been answered. Unless one is willing to forego the multi-person, hypostatic union, tri-theistic teachings of the Christian tradition, which go against the principles of the Shema Yisrael, no Christian can honestly claim to be monotheistic.
and Allaah knows best.