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Handling Muslim Objections – Part 2: “Christians Worship Three Gods”

People are often shocked to hear Muslims claim that Christians worship three gods. The incredulity only deepens when shown the Quran saying, “Allah will say ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men ‘worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God’’” (5:116)? “Had Allah wished to take to Himself a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He doth create” (39:4). Have you ever known a Christian who believes that way?! Man did NOT become God. God became man (John 1:1-18)!

The starting point in Islam is that Allah is One and it insists on Allah’s absolute unity and simplicity. The Bible, however, does not begin with an assertion of the oneness of God as its foundational truth. God says in Genesis 1:26, “Let US make man in OUR Image.”

When we read in Deuteronomy 6:4 that “the LORD[1] our God is one,” the Hebrew word for “one” is echad. This is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 when Adam and Eve became “one” flesh and yet remained two persons; the term expresses collective oneness. The Hebrew word yachid means numeric solitary oneness, but it is NEVER used in reference to God. This is why the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8) while Islam emphasizes submission. Jesus makes sense of creation and holds all things together whereas Allah is isolated and abstract (Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3).

The Bible even models the Trinity in the Tabernacle with an altar of incense placing our prayers in the midst of God (Revelation 8:3).[2] Everything that the living God does throughout the Bible is from the Father, who is unseen, through the Son, who is always sent to do the will of the Father in the power of the Spirit. He is the “Christ,” which means the Anointed One who always acts in the power of the Spirit from the beginning of the world to the end.

The Trinity is a basic Bible truth, NOT advanced theology. You will always struggle to understand the Bible if you do not look at it Trinitarianly. It is childishly simple: The One God Who is Three Persons. This is the most basic concept of God. Never fall into the idea that there's a more basic concept of God underneath the Trinity. If you are not talking about the Trinity, you are not talking about the biblical God.

The Bible uses a much richer set of titles to describe the three persons of the Trinity than simply Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is called God Most High, the Ancient of Days, and so on. Likewise, the Son is called the Word of God, the Angel of the LORD, and much more. And the Spirit is referred to as the wind from God, the Comforter, and other names.

The word “Trinity” itself is not in the Bible. It was a word that early Christians used to describe the fact that God is one but three persons at the same time. Likewise, the Islamic word Tawhid (oneness) is not found in the Quran and yet it is used to describe Islam’s central doctrine on the nature of Allah. 

Muslim debaters often claim that the Bible supports Tawhid and was originally unitarian, and that Tawhid is more reasonable than the Trinity. They will also say that Christians concocted the Trinity from a few odd New Testament verses and that it is an invention of the Apostle Paul. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The Old Testament is all about the Trinity. The New Testament adds nothing to the doctrine of God and deliberately refers to the doctrine of God in the Old Testament Scriptures. The theology in the entire Bible is based on the foundation of Moses. The Apostle Paul explained that he is saying nothing beyond what Moses and the prophets said (Acts 26:22).

Who is it when God appears in the Bible? Jesus is the visible form of the invisible God, the eternal Son. So, when the LORD comes down on earth and interacts with people, the Bible assumes that you know what the living God is like, and that it is Jesus, the Son. After thousands of years, with hundreds of millions of Christians all over the world, it is Trinitarian theology that the Bible assumes from cover to cover. If you read the Bible with that in mind, you will find that the Bible makes sense to you, but if you don’t, you will always struggle to understand Scripture.  

Isaiah 48:12-17 illustrates the presence of the three persons of the Trinity working in unity:

I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens… Come near to Me, listen to this: From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Sovereign LORD has sent Me, and His Spirit. This is what the LORD says, He who is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to benefit, Who leads you in the way you should go.

It is quite powerful with Muslims to go back to the doctrine of God held by Abraham, Ishmael, and Hagar, and then on to Moses and the prophets because Muslims recognize these people as deeply important. The New Testament doesn’t lay down any new theological material that differs from the teachings on the Trinity in the Old Testament. For example, in Genesis 16:7-13 we read,

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert … and he said, ‘Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’… She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:

"You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me."

In Hagar’s own words, she acknowledges that the Angel of the LORD (Jesus), whom she saw with her own eyes, is the God who sees her!

In the Great Commission, Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added). Jesus did not feel that this statement required any special explanation. He simply assumes that His followers know exactly what He is talking about as if it is nothing extraordinary at all, and that is why the baptismal formula is so precious to Christians as a mark of our identity.

However, we need to do more than have a hundred verses to wheel out when explaining the Trinity to Muslims—although it is good to have lots of good verses that we like and can use as reference. We need to have a deep understanding of the Trinity, as evidenced throughout the Bible, so that we can explain things understandably and passionately.[3] It is important to help Muslims see why things in the Bible are a revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God, why Bible facts are so powerful, and why forgiveness of sin through Jesus is an important insight into the life of the Trinity, as only God can forgive sin.

 Jesus says that seeing Him is equivalent to seeing the Father and prayed, “Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed” (John 14:8-11, 17:5). It is inconceivable that Jesus is anything less than the fully divine and eternal Son of the Father who lives and works in the power of the divine eternal Spirit!

[1] The word “LORD” with all capital letters is used in many Bibles for the name of Jehovah found in the Hebrew text.

[2] Special thanks to Paul Blackham and the One Truth Project in the UK at for the basic Tabernacle diagram and much of the teaching in this blog.

[3] For a helpful FREE short course on the Trinity, go to 


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