The Doctrine of God

There are many verses in the Bible that say there is one God. The scriptures use terms like Holy One of Israel, no god beside me, none else, alone, by myself, etc. Many religions claim to believe this fundamental truth, but what is meant by ‘one God’? How is God one? Are there three Gods that are one in unity? Is there one God that exists in three personas? Is there one God that simultaneously exists as three individual persons? Is there one God in three forms? Is there one God in number, with many attributes and manifestations? What do the scriptures say?

The scriptures declare that God is one in number:

Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD

Exodus 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Isaiah 43:10-11   10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

Isaiah 44:6  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:8  8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Isaiah 44:24  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 45:21-22   21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.  22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isaiah 46:9  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Mark 12:29  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

Mark 12:32  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

Galatians 3:20  Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

James 2:19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

These verses are clearly speaking of a single being that is one in number. God’s nature is not divided into ‘persons’. God is not a group of people. Any plurality of God can be attributed to His power, strength, majesty, and attributes. God is one single being with no division of personalities.

God is an eternal spirit.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

He is omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time), omniscient (knowing all things), and omnipotent (all powerful).

God has roles of operation. This is seen in scripture as God manifesting Himself in different ways. A manifestation doesn’t require God to become another person. A manifestation is simply God revealing Himself. God revealed Himself in many ways.

The title ‘Father’ refers to God’s role as Father of creation, Father of the Son of God, and Father of born-again believers.

Deuteronomy 32:6  Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

Malachi 2:10  Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

The title ‘Son’ refers to God manifest in flesh. It refers to the humanity of Jesus. Jesus had two natures– deity and humanity. As Deity, he was God. As a man, he was the Son of God. As the Son of God, Jesus was born, grew in knowledge and stature, hungered, tired, prayed to the Father, and died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins. He did not die as God. Deity cannot die. He died as a man. Jesus could act from his Deity or his humanity. His Deity was the one God of the Old Testament. His humanity was the Son of God that was born in Bethlehem to die for our sins.

Luke 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Galatians 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Hebrews 1:5  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

2 Corinthians 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The title ‘Holy Spirit’, or ‘Holy Ghost’, refers to God’s fundamental nature- He is a Holy Spirit. The title specifically refers God in activity. It refers to the Spirit of God that is imparted to believers and anoints us to live for Him and do His work.

Genesis 1:2  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Acts 1:5-8   5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Each of these titles, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, refers to God in modes, roles, or relationships to us. We can have many roles but we don’t become another person. For example, I am a father, son, and brother. I act differently in each role, yet I am just one person. The terms Father, Son, and Holy Ghost cannot imply three separate persons, beings, personalities, or wills (Bernard, pg. 132). They can only refer to different aspects, or roles of the one God (Bernard, pg. 132). The terms are used by scripture to describe God’s relationships to us. The term Father emphasizes the roles of Creator, Father of born-again believers, and Father of the humanity of Jesus (Bernard, pg. 132). The term Son refers to both the humanity of Jesus and to God as the manifestation of God in flesh (Bernard, pg. 132). The term Holy Ghost refers to God’s active power in our lives (Bernard, pg. 132). God has many titles and roles, but He is one single being.

God is not limited to three roles. The scriptures do not describe God as three persons or beings. The scriptures declare that God is one in His essence. God is called Holy One, Holy One of Israel, LORD (Jehovah), Word, God Almighty, and Lord. He is referred to in the singular.

In the Old Testament, God was known as Jehovah and I Am. In the New Testament we are given a new name for God: Jesus. Jesus said that He was the I Am of the Old Testament (John 8:56-58).

John 8:56-58   56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Jesus is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9).

Colossians 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

When we say Jesus, we’ve said it all, for in Jesus is summarized all the fullness of God.

 

References

Bernard, David K. (1983) Oneness of God, The.

Hazelwood: Word Aflame Press

 

David K. Bernard The Oneness of God

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