Saturday, December 24, 2011

God: The Theology of God.

Abraham discovers one and only God living in the house of Idols using his brain.When he was seven years old, he began to seek God. One day he said to his father: 'Father, what made man?'
His father answered: 'Man [made man]; for I made you, and my father made me.'
Abraham answered: 'Father, it is not so; for I have heard an old man weeping and saying: 'O my God, why have you not given me children?''

His father replied: 'It is true, that God helps man to make man, but he does not put his hands to [the task]; it is only necessary that man come to pray to his God and to give him lambs and sheep, and his God will help him.'
Abraham answered: 'How many gods are there, father?'
The old man replied: 'They are infinite in number, my son.'

Then Abraham said: 'O father, what shall I do if I serve one god and another [god] wishes me evil because I do not serve him? In any case discord will come between them, and so war will arise among the gods. And if, perhaps, the god that wills me evil shall slay my own god, what shall I do? It is certain that he will slay me also.’

The old man, laughing, answered: "You have no fear, for no god makes war upon another god; no, in the great temple there are a thousand gods with the great god Baal; and I am now near seventy years old, and yet never have I seen that one god has smitten another god. And assuredly all men do not serve one god, but one man one, and another."

Abraham answered: "So, then, they have peace among themselves?"
His father said: "They have."
Then said Abraham: "O father, what be the gods like?"
The old man answered: "Fool, every day I make a god, which I sell to others to buy bread, and you know not what the gods are like!"

And then at that moment he was making an idol. "This," said he, "is of palm wood, that one is of olive, that little one is of ivory: see how fine it is! Does it not seem as though it were alive? Assuredly, it lacks but breath!"

Abraham answered: "And so, father, the gods are without breath? Then how do they give breath? And being without life, how give they life? It is certain, father, that these are not God."
The old man was wroth at these words, saying: "If you were of age to understand, I would break your head with this axe: But hold your peace, because you have not understanding!"

Abraham answered: "Father, if the gods help to make man, how can it be that man should make the gods? And if the gods are made of wood, it is a great sin to burn wood. But tell me, father, how is it that, when you have made so many gods, the gods have not helped you to make so many other children that you should become the most powerful man in the world?"

The father was beside himself, hearing his son speak so; the son went on: "Father, was the world for some time without men?"
“Yes," answered the old man, "and why?"
"Because," said Abraham, "I should like to know who made the first God."

"Now go out of my house!" said the old man, "and leave me to make this god quickly, and speak no words to me; for, when you are hungry you desire bread and not words."
Abraham said: "A fine god, truly, that you cut him as you will, and he defends not himself!"

Then the old man was angry, and said: "All the world says that it is a god, and you, mad fellow, say that it is not. By my gods, if you were a man I could kill you!"
And having said this, he gave blows and kicks to Abraham, and chased him from the house."

"One day, Abraham having come to the age of twelve years, his father said to him: "Tomorrow is the festival of all the gods; therefore we shall go to the great temple and bear a present to my god, great Baal. And you shall choose for yourself a god, for you are of age to have a god."
Abraham answered with guile: "Willingly, O my father."

And so betimes in the morning they went before every one else to the temple. But Abraham bare beneath his tunic an axe hidden. Whereupon, having entered into the temple, as the crowd increased Abraham hid himself behind an idol in a dark part of the temple. His father, when he departed, believed that Abraham had gone home before him, wherefore he did not stay to seek him."

When every one had departed from the temple, the priests closed the temple and went away. Then Abraham took the axe and cut off the feet of all the idols, except the great god Baal. At its feet he placed the axe, amid the ruins which the statues made, for they, through being old and composed of pieces, fell in pieces.

Thereupon, Abraham, going forth from the temple, seen by certain men, who suspected him of having gone to thieve something from the temple. So they laid hold on him, and having arrived at the temple, when they saw their gods so broken in pieces, they cried out with lamentation: "Come quickly, O men, and let us slay him who has slain our gods!"

There ran together there about ten thousand men, with the priests, and questioned Abraham of the reason why he had destroyed their gods.
Abraham answered: "You are foolish! Shall then a man slay God? It is the great God that has slain them. See you not that axe which he has near his feet? Certain it is that he desires no fellows."

Then arrived there the father of Abraham, who, mindful of the many discourses of Abraham against their gods, and recognizing the axe wherewith Abraham had broken in pieces the idols, cried out: "It has been this traitor of a son of mine, who has slain our gods! for this axe is mine." 
This is the story of Abraham, But one may surprise that an extremely anthropocentric conception of divine was present in the ancient Egypt, viz

Humans are well cared for, the livestock of god:
He made heaven and earth for their sake,
He pushed the greediness of the waters back
And created the air so that they may breathe.

His images are they, having come forth from his body.
For their sake he rises to heaven;
It is for them that he has made plants and animals, birds and fish,
So that they might have food.

If he killed his enemies and went against his children,
This was only because they thought of rebellion.
For their sake he causes there to be light.
To see them he travels [the heavens].

He established for himself a chapel at their back.
When they weep, he hears.
He created for them a ruler in the egg
And a commander to strengthen the backbone of the weak.

He made for them magic as a weapon toward off the blow of fate,
Watching over them night and day.
He thrashed the cowardly among them,
As a man beats his son for the sake of his brother.
God knows every name.

The text speaks of God; other gods are not mentioned. It is not a matter of religion, but of genre and perspective. If one looks at the world in the way that this text does, the principles of plurality and differentiation disappear, and the ultimate unity of the divine appears.- [Ancient Religions]

In Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus define God as- God is a good without which there is naught good; God is a being without which there is naught that is; God is a life without which there is naught that liveth; so great that he filleth all and is everywhere. He alone hath no equal. He hath had no beginning, nor will he ever have an end, but to everything hath he given a beginning, and to everything shall he give an end. He hath no father nor mother; he hath no sons. nor brethren. nor companions. 

And because God hath no body, therefore he eateth not, sleepeth not, dieth not, walketh not, moveth not, but abideth eternally without human similitude, for that he is incorporeal, uncompounded, immaterial, of the most simple substance. 
He is so good that he loveth goodness only; he is so just that when he punisheth or pardoneth it cannot be gainsaid. 

In short, here on earth no one canst see him nor know him perfectly; but in his kingdom the righteous one shalt see him for ever: wherein consisteth all our happiness and glory.'" According to Qu'ran-

"He is Allah , [who is] One,
 Allah , the Eternal Refuge.
 He neither begets nor is born,
 Nor is there to Him any equivalent."- [Quran, al-Ikhlas, 112:1-4]

With this Attributes of God, Mansur al-Hallaj, the master of all secretes, define God with His essence as-

-Al Hallaj, [Arberry, A.J., The Doctrine of the Sufis]

"Before" does not outstrip Him,
"after" does not interrupt Him
"of" does not vie with Him for precedence
"from" does not accord with Him
"to" does not join with Him
"in" does not inhabit Him
"when" does not stop Him
"if" does not consult with Him
"over" does not overshadow 

Him "under" does not support Him
"opposite" does not face Him
"with" does not press Him
"behind" does not limit Him
"previous" does not display Him
"after" does not cause Him to pass away
"all" does not unite Him
"is" does not bring Him into being
"is not" does not deprive Him from Being.

Concealment does not veil Him
His pre-existence preceded time,
His being preceded non-being,
His eternity preceded limit.
If thou sayest 'when', 
His existing has outstripped time;

If thou sayest 'before', before is after Him;
If thou sayest 'he', 'h' and 'e' are His creation;
If thou sayest 'how', His essence is veiled from description;
If thou sayest 'where', His being preceded space;
If thou sayest 'ipseity' (ma huwa),

His ipseity (huwiwah) is apart from things. 
Other than He cannot
be qualified by two (opposite) qualities at
one time; yet With Him they do not create opposition.
He is hidden in His manifestation, 
manifest in His concealing. 
He is outward and inward,
near and far; and in this respect He is
removed beyond the resemblance of creation.

He acts without contact,
instructs without meeting,
guides without pointing.
Desires do not conflict with Him,
thoughts do not mingle with Him:
His essence is without qualification (takyeef),
His action without effort (takleef).

On the other hand, Greek Philosopher Plato, define God and His Attribution logically as-

"God is good. And no good thing is hurtful. And that which is not hurtful, hurts not. And that, which hurts not, does no evil. And that, which does no evil, can’t be a cause of evil. Again, the good is advantageous; and therefore, the cause of well-being. It follows therefore that the God is not the cause of all things, but of the good only.

Thus God, as He is good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but He is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him. Then we must not say like Homer that-

"Two casks Lie at the threshold of God, full of lots,
One of good, the other lots of evil,
And that he, to whom God gives a mixture of the two,
Sometimes meets with evil fortune, at other times with good;
But that he, to whom is given the cup of unmingled ill,
Him wild hunger drives o'er the beauteous earth. And again God,
Who is the dispenser of good and evil to us."

We can’t say that God plants guilt among men when he desires utterly to destroy others. The Sufferings of Niobe, -or of the house of Pelops, -or of the "Trojan War" -we must not say that these are the works of God, or if they are of God, there must some explanation of them.

God did only what was just and right, and they were the better for being punished; but that those who are punished are miserable, and that God is not the author of their misery, the wicked are miserable because they require to be punished, and are benefited by receiving punishment from God; but that God being good is the author of evil to any one is not to be said. As God is not the author of all things, but of good only.

Whether God is a magician, and of a nature to appear insidiously now in one shape, and now in another --sometimes himself changing and passing into many forms, sometimes deceiving us with the semblance of such transformations; or is he one and the same immutably fixed in his own proper image?

If we suppose a change in anything, certainly that change must be effected either by the thing itself, or by some other thing. And things which are at their best are also least liable to be altered or discomposed; for example, when healthiest and strongest, the human frame is least liable to be affected by meats and drinks, and the plant which is in the fullest vigour also suffers least from winds or the heat of the sun or any similar causes.

And the bravest and wisest soul will be least confused or deranged by any external influence. And the same principle should applies to all composite things- furniture, houses, garments; when good and well made, they are least altered by time and circumstances. Then everything which is good, whether made by art or nature, or both, is least liable to suffer change from without.

But surely God and the things of Gods are in every way perfect. Then He can hardly be compelled by external influence to take many shapes.

But may God not change and transform Himself? Clearly, that must be the case if He is changed at all. And will He then change Himself for the better and fairer, or for the worse and more unsightly? If He changes at all He can only change for the worse, for we cannot suppose Him to be deficient either in Virtue or Beauty.

But, no one would not desire to make himself worse. Then it is impossible that God should ever be willing to change; being, as is supposed, the fairest and best that is conceivable, God remains absolutely and forever in his own form. Thus Jesus can't be God as what Christians belief today. And similarly, to worship a idol is grievous sin as the idol deviants the real Image and Essence of God. Then, if someone tell us that-

"The God, taking the disguise of strangers from other lands,
Walk up and down cities in all sorts of forms."

-is considered as imposing a slander on God, speaking blasphemy against the God. And he who speak Blasphemy against God; He will forbid Heaven for him.

But although the God Himself unchangeable, still by witchcraft and deception He may make us think that He appear in various forms. But we cannot imagine that God will be willing to lie, whether in word or deed, or to put forth a phantom of Himself.

But the true lie, if such an expression may be allowed, yet is hated of God and men. As no one is willingly deceived in that which is the truest and highest part of himself, or about the truest and highest matters; there, above all, he is most afraid of a lie having possession of him. The reason is, only that deception, or being deceived or uninformed about the highest realities in the highest part of himself, which is the soul, and in that part of him to have and to hold the lie, is what mankind least like; is what he utterly detest.

And now remarking, this ignorance in the soul of him who is deceived may be called the true lie; for the lie in words is only a kind of imitation and shadowy image of a previous affection of the soul, not pure unadulterated falsehood. The "True Lie" is hated not only by the God, but also by men.

Whereas the lie in words is in certain cases useful and not hateful; in dealing with enemies -that would be an instance; or again, when those whom we call our friends in a fit of madness or illusion are going to do some harm, then it is useful and is a sort of medicine or preventive; also in the tales of mythology, because we do not know the truth about ancient times, we make falsehood as much like truth as we can, and so turn it to account.

But any of these reasons cannot be apply to God. As we can’t suppose He is ignorant of antiquity, and therefore has recourse to invention. Or perhaps one may tell a lie because he is afraid of enemies. And that is inconceivable. But one may have friends who are senseless or mad. But no mad or senseless person can be a friend of God. Then no motive can be imagined why God should lie. Then the superhuman and divine is absolutely incapable of falsehood. 

Then, God is perfectly simple and true both in word and deed; He changes not; He deceives not, either by sign or word, by dream or waking vision. The God is not magician who transform Himself, neither do He deceive mankind in any way. 

Do you recognize God Now? Hallaj said, “If you do not recognize God, at least recognize His sign."- -[Tawasin, 6:24] Actually God is most Mysterious. It is said in the Qur'an-

God is the Light of the heaven and earth;
The parable of His light is- a lamp in a niche of a wall,
The lamp enclosed in a glass appears as a shining star.
Lit through a blessed tree, an olive,
That is neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil is well-nigh luminous,
Although no fire touched it.
Light upon Light!

God doth guide- whom He wills to
God doth set forth His Light- parables for men:
And God doth knows all things.-[Quran, al-Noor, 24:35].

The End.
Not Yet Verified.

Mansur al-Hallaj, Kitab al-Tawasin,
Plato (360 BCE), The Republic; Translated-Benjamin Jowett.
Sa‘d al-Din al-Taftazani, A Commentary on the Creed of Islam, trans. E. E. Elder (New York: 1950), p. 64.
W. M. Patton, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and the Mihna (Leiden: Brill, 1897), p, 160.
lbn Qudama, Censure of Speculative Theology, trans. George Makdisi (London: Luzac, 1962), p. 37. 
Victor E. Malzari, Ibn Taymiyya 's Ethics: The Social Factor (Chico, 1983), p. 52-56.
W. C. Klein, Al-Ibanah ‘an Usul ad-Diyanah (New Haven: 1940), p. 81.
H. A. Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Kalam (Cambridge: 1976), p. 255-257.
R. J. McCarthy, The Theology of al-Ash‘ari (Beirut: 1953), p. 173.
Abdu-r-Rahman Abu Zayd, Al-Ghazali on Divine Predicates and Their Properties (Lahore: 1970), p. 19.
A. S. Tritton, "The Speech of God", Studia Islamica 33 (1971), p. 5-21. 
Shabbir Akhtar, A Faith for All Seasons (London: 1990), p. 223.
L. Gardet and M. M. Anawati, Introduction à la theologie musulmane (Paris: 1948), p. 86.
Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, "The Word of God in Islam", (1986), p. 73. 
A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed (Cambridge: 1932), p. 127; 
D. B. Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory (New York: 1903), p. 335, 336,
M. S. Seale, Muslim Theology (London: 1964), p. 99-102.
W. M. Watt, Islamic Revelation in the Modern World (Edinburgh: 1969), p. 73.
Uthman Yahya, "Man and His Perfection in Muslim Theology", (Hartford: 1959), p. 24.
Alexander McLaren, Exposition of Holy Scripture,(New York: ), p. 217.
Muzammil H. Siddiqui, "God: A Muslim View" ed. John Hick and Edmund Melzer (Albany: 1989), p. 73:
J. W. Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology (London: 1955) Part 2, Vol. 1, p.247.
Muhammed ‘Abduh, The Theology of Unity, trans. Ishaq Musa‘ad and K. Cragg (London: 1966) P. 51,52.
Daud Rahbar, "The Relation of Shi‘a Theology to the Qur'an" (Hartford: 1961): P. 93. 

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