Bonus Lecture – Augustine Part 2


LINK – Augustine Lecture  Pt. 2

Contents of Lecture
1. Augustine on the stages of the soul’s journey to God.

2. Greek technical terms of the Nicene doctrine of Trinity explained – God is three Persons (hypostasis) in one Essence (ousia)

3. General Scheme of Augustine’s Book On the Trinity
1 – 4 : An interpretation of Scripture on the basis of the co-equality of the Person’s in the Godhead.
5 – 7 : The Formulation of the Catholic Faith in terms of the logical and metaphysical categories of contemporary Greek Philosophy (especially Neo-Platonism)
8 – 15 : An ‘Advancing Inquiry’ into the nature of the Trinity as seen within the human soul.

“Psychological Trinities” in the human mind that correspond to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Continue reading “Bonus Lecture – Augustine Part 2”

The Miracle of Christmas Pt. 2/2: The Incarnate Christ is truly God and truly Man

Speaker: Dr. Ng Kam Weng

You are welcome to view the talk at:
The Incarnate Christ is truly God and truly Man

A brief explanation of the two natures of Christ according to the Chalcedonian Creed (AD 451)

Chalcedonian Creed (451)
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

Related post
The Logical Coherence of the Incarnation of Christ.

The Miracle of Christmas Pt. 1/2: The Son of God Assumed Human Existence

The Miracle of Christmas Pt.1/2: The Son of God Assumed Human Existence

Speaker: Dr. Ng Kam Weng

You are welcome to view the talk at:
The Miracle of Christmas Pt.1/2: The Son of God Assumed Human Existence

At Christmas, Christ, the Son of God who shared the glory of the Father from eternity, assumed humanity but retained his deity throughout his life on earth. Christ in his human existence cloaked or veiled the form of God in the form of a servant. In becoming incarnate, the Son of God demonstrates to us what it means to be a perfect human being, one who is not only sinless, but is also able to sympathise and help his sinners. (Phil. 2:6-11: Heb. 4: 15)

Series 3: The Prophecies of the Messiah and His Kingdom in the Book of Isaiah. Part 5. Does the book of Isaiah indicate that God is Triune?

The Trinity in Isaiah (Isaiah 11:2; 51:9-10; 53:1; 63:7-14; cf. Micah 5:2; Daniel 7:7-10, 13-14)

Question: The good news or Gospel in the New Testament is that the Triune God has accomplished salvation in saving fallen mankind. If indeed, Isaiah presents the Gospel of Christ in advance of the New Testament, is there any indication in the book of Isaiah that God is Triune.

Discussants: Dr. Leong Tien Fock and Dr. Ng Kam Weng.
You are welcome to join the discussion at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDgVleUr-08

Please forward this message if you find the video discussion helpful.

 

The Meaning of “Son of God”: A Muslim Critique – Christology Part 1

Author: Ungaran Rashid
Publisher: IIUM Press, 2021.
ISBN 9789674910945
No. of pages: 128
Price: RM 45.00

[This book is a revised version a thesis in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage (Uṣūl al-Dīn and Comparative Religion) at International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur].

Muslim scholars’ critique of the Christian teaching of the deity of Christ would be more credible if it engages with the origin of divine Christology in its historical context rather than relies on dogmatic assertions of Islamic doctrine. As such, this book is a commendable attempt by a Muslim scholar to engage with Christian scholarship based on historical criticism of primary sources and critical analysis of concepts of Christology.

For Christians, “Son of God” describes the filial relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father. However, Muslims reject the Christian understanding and assert that “He (Allah) begot no one nor was He begotten” (Sura 112 – Abdel Haleem translation). Dr. Ungaran Rashid, assistant professor at International Islamic University, Malaysia, argues that the way to resolve this conflict of interpretation is to examine the term “Son of God” from the main source, which is Jewish Scriptures (Ungaran’s term for the Old Testament). Continue reading “The Meaning of “Son of God”: A Muslim Critique – Christology Part 1″

Answering al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity Part 4. The Coherence of the Incarnation

I. Al-Ghazali’s Erroneous Understanding of the Incarnation.

Al-Ghazali’s understanding of the incarnation is derived from the Egyptian Jacobites who believed that the incarnate Christ comprises a mixture of divine nature and human nature:

God created the humanity of Jesus, on him be peace, then he appeared in it, and united with it. They mean by the union that a connection occurred between him and it like the connective relationship between the soul and the body. Then with this connective relationship, a third reality occurred, different from each of the two realities, composed of divinity and humanity, and having the attributes of all that is required from each of them, with respect to him being God and man. [Al-Radd, pp. 127, 129]

The Jacobites represented the more extreme wing of monophysitism [from monos (single) and physis (nature)] followed Eutyches who taught that either the two natures of Christ must have been fused into a tertium quid [(a third thing that is indefinite and undefined but is related to two definite or known things] or that the humanity must have been swallowed up by the divinity. [J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine 5ed. (A & C Black, 1977), p. 333] God created the humanity of Jesus and then united with it in such a way that the third reality which results from this connection shares all the attributes of divinity and humanity. Continue reading “Answering al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity Part 4. The Coherence of the Incarnation”

Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity Part 3. Biblical Evidence for the Divinity of Christ.

Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:5, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” This verse testifies that Jesus shared the glory of God in his preexistence. However, al-Ghazali explains away the explicit teaching of the verse by imposing an unprecedented meaning to the word “glory”. He asserts that “the factual meaning is not intended, because in the fullness of the glory that was given to him is prophethood and messengership, and what entails from them in rank, the ascent to heaven, and his power to perform unprecedented miracles.” [Al-Radd, p.111]

Based on his Islamic presuppositions, Al-Ghazali rhetorically asserts that intelligent people would agree that there is an absolute ontological dichotomy between the Father and Christ, “Is it possible that divinity be bestowed when the impossibility of this is a matter upon which intelligent people have unanimously agreed?” However, he does not explain why the divinity of Christ is an “impossibility.” Neither does he offer any evidence to support his claim that it is “a matter upon which intelligent people have unanimously agreed?” His argument is merely an exercise in rationalizing away the plain meaning of the text and aligning them with the premise that the divinity of Christ is an impossibility.

Al-Ghazali’s abuse of the meaning of the word “glory” reminds me of the enigmatic conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s book, Through the Looking Glass. Continue reading “Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity Part 3. Biblical Evidence for the Divinity of Christ.”

Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity. Part 2. Arbitrary Metaphorical Interpretation.

Jesus claims to be divine when he declares publicly to the Jews, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) However, al-Ghazali insists that the statement should be understood metaphorically rather than as literally. For him, Jesus’ prophetic mission was to show people the true God and to worship him alone. A literal interpretation of John 10:30 must be rejected as this would entail Jesus calling people to worship him instead of the true God. Jesus’ oneness with God describes his obedience which enables him to receives power from God to discharge his mission. Continue reading “Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity. Part 2. Arbitrary Metaphorical Interpretation.”

Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity. Part 1: Evasion in the Name of Metaphor

 

A. False Premises Distort the Reading of the Gospels
Unlike Muslim polemists who reject out of hand the divinity of Christ without examining the biblical evidence, Al-Ghazali mounts a critique of the divinity of Christ based on his reading of the gospels. However, the ineptitude displayed by al-Ghazali in his handling of the biblical texts seriously undermines his critique.

We look at school children with kind indulgence even when they repeat their mistakes in their class assignments. However, we are dumbfounded when a great thinker like al-Ghazali, whose mastery of philosophy is indisputable, commits glaring mistakes in his analysis of the gospels which are written in lingua franca (koine Greek) to be read daily by ordinary people. Somehow he ends up devising contorted metaphorical readings when the simple meaning is in plain sight.

How could a great thinker like al-Ghazali’s  stumble in his handling of basic biblical texts? Continue reading “Answering Al-Ghazali Refutation of Jesus’ Divinity. Part 1: Evasion in the Name of Metaphor”

A Fitting Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus (Al-Radd al-Jamil) by Al-Ghazali. Part 1

[This summary of Al-Ghazali’s, A Fitting Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus (Al-Radd al-Jamil) marks the beginning of a series of responses to Muslim polemics against Christianity written by classical Muslim philosophers like Al-Ghazali, Ibn Tamiyya, and Abu Isa al-Warraq]

Historically, the Islamic view of the Bible has been one of ambivalence. On the hand the Quran affirms that the Torah is a word of God and that the Zabur (Psalms) was given to David. While the Quran is silent about the four gospels, it assumes that there is one Injil that was given through Jesus, “He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel.” (Surah 3:48). On the other hand, the Quran accuses Christians and Jews of being guilty of having distorted and altered Scriptures (tahrif).

Some Jews distort the meaning of [revealed] words: they say, ‘We hear and disobey,’ and ‘Listen,’ [adding the insult] ‘May you not hear,’ and ‘Ra ina [Look at us],’twisting it abusively with their tongues so as to disparage religion. If they had said, ‘We hear and obey,’ ‘Listen,’ and ‘Unzurna [Look at us],’ that would have been better and more proper for them. (Surah 4:46. Abdel Haleem translation). Continue reading “A Fitting Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus (Al-Radd al-Jamil) by Al-Ghazali. Part 1”