Belief in the Oneness of God
God is one, and is both sovereign and creator. There are 99 names of God. These names, which represent God’s divine attributes, are often repeated and perceived by many Muslims as significant realities in their everyday life. For example:
- ar-Rahmân – the All-Mercifull,
- ar-Rahïm – the Al-Compassionate
- al-Jabbär – the Irresistible
- al-Khäliq – the Creator
Discussions Concerning Adventist and Muslim Understanding
Understanding of God
The basic Testimony of Islam is called the ‘shahada’, the first clause of which states that “la ilaha il Allah”, “There is no god but God.” This is certainly a statement that Adventists would affirm; but how the two Faiths conceptualize God in their respective theologies is actually quite different. The emphasis in the Islamic theology of God can be summarized by one word: ‘Tawhid’, which means “absolute unity of God.” Muslims insist that there is no distinction within the Godhead. God is one.
Thus, the Islamic polemic against Christianity has centered on the doctrine of Trinity. This is the central doctrine that causes problems for Muslims when they examine Christianity. Muslims have understood Christians to be tri-theists guilty of “shirk”, which is attributing an associate to God. Therefore, Muslims conclude that Christians actually believe in three gods since they speak of the Trinity. This attitude is expressed in the Qur’an: “Say not “three,” desist. It will be better for you. For God is One God.” (Qur’an 4:171) “They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no God except One God.” (Qur’an 5:73)
Within Christian history the doctrine of the Trinity was articulated precisely to oppose the idea of believing in three gods. However, Christians have not always done well at keeping the Biblical absolute that, “The Lord our God is one.” (Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4) For example, the understanding of the Trinity was very inadequate among the Christians with whom the earliest Muslims interacted. Some Christians gave the impression, at least, that they believed Mary was a part of the Trinity! This misunderstanding of the Trinity found expression in the Qur’an itself: And behold, God will say; “O Jesus the Son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, “Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?” (Qur’an 5:116). No wonder the Qur’an and Muslims are opposed to that type of Trinity. So are Adventists!
Adventists affirm that there is only “one God.” As the Orthodox Christians in the Middle East say in Arabic: “Bismilabi wal-ibni war-ruhi-I-quddus, ALLAH WAHID!”. (“In the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ONE GOD!”).