Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Edward Smither


Trinity, Tawhid, John of Damascus, Theodor Abu Qurah, Mariology, Relational God


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The Islamic golden age under the Abbasids opened up the opportunity for Christian thinkers to present several apologies for the doctrine of the Trinity in Islamic context. This study examines the status of the Arabic church in the eighth to tenth centuries, especially the trinitarian apologies of John of Damascus, Theodore Abū Qurrah, and Yaḥyā Ibn ‘Adi against Islamic misunderstanding of the Trinity and its probable cause, in order to come up with trinitarian apologetics that answer Islamic objections and that will be useful for the present day. While both Christians and Muslims agree that human beings will never be able to fully perceive God in their own minds, they both agree that God should be the greatest conceived being in order for people to believe in him. Basing the argument on this common ground, this study shall show that the greatest conceived being should be relational—intra-relational within himself and inter-relational with his creation—and the Trinity is the only model that shows the divine being eternally relational.