There are many explicit passages of the Scripture that clearly declare the cardinal truth that teach that there is only one God: Exo. 8:10; Deut. 4:35,39; 6:4; 32:39; 2Sam. 7:22; 22:32; 1Kings 8:60; 2Kings 19:15; 1Chron. 17:20; Neh. 9:6; Psa. 18:31; 86:10; Isa. 37:16,20; 43:10,11; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21; 46:9; Hosea 13:4; Joel 2:27; Zech. 14:9; Mark 12:29-34; John 5:44; 17:3; Rom. 3:30; 16:27; ICor. 8:4,6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1Tim. 1:17; 2:5; 6:16; James 2:19; Jude v. 25. There are very few ambiguous passages of the Scripture used for triune God teaching. Where is the truth?
It is obvious from the Ten Commandments, "God" is not singular:
I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods beside Me. (Deuteronomy 5:6-7) [NJPS]
אנכי יהוה אלהיך אשר הוצאתיך מארץ מצרים מבית עבדים לא יהיה־לך אלהים אחרים על־פני
Both "your God" and "gods" are the same word, אלהים, 'elohiym. Commenting on Deuteronomy 5:7, Bernard M. Levenson explains the first of the Ten Commandments:
5.7: This first commandment takes for granted the existence of other gods; its concern is only to ensure Israel’s exclusive loyalty to YHVH. This perspective, called “monolatry,” is found frequently within Deuteronomy (see 6.4; 32.8-9, 43; 33.2-3, 27). The idea of monolatry is often expressed by representing YHVH as the ruler of the divine council (see 32.8 n.; Psalm 82; 89.6-8; cf. Exodus 15.11). That perspective almost certainly represents an earlier form of Israelite religion. Ancient Near Eastern sources similarly envision a chief god ruling over a council of other gods. During the Babylonian exile, perhaps under the influence of Second Isaiah, a very different understanding developed. Radical “monotheism” affirms God’s greatness, not by portraying Him as more powerful than other gods but, instead, by denying the existence of other gods altogether (see 4.15-31 n; Isaiah 43.10-12; 44.6-8, 45.5-6, 14, 18-19, 22). Once that perspective became normative in the period following the exile, the earlier view was no longer intelligible. As a result, in the process of reading, preaching, and translating the biblical text, Second Temple Jewish communities sometimes read the later perspective of monotheism into texts that actually had in mind the earlier idea of God as ruling a divine council (see v. 9 n.; 6.4 n.; 32.8 n.). The original theology has also become unavailable to most contemporary readers, since many of the translations found in synagogue prayer books employ euphemisms to “explain away” the biblical text’s clear references to other gods.
The plurality of 'elohiym is inherent to the Shema:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone b (Deuteronomy 6:4)
b: Cf. Rashbam and Ibn Ezra; see Zech. 14.9. [And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one LORD with one name.] Others "The LORD our God, the LORD is one."
Levenson notes "Modern readers regard the Shema as an assertion of monotheism, a view that is anachronistic."
6.4-5: The Shema, with its call for complete personal devotion to God, became normative for the various Judaisms of the Second Temple period; in fact these verses were cited by Jesus as the “first” of all commandments (Mark 12.29-30). 4: The LORD…alone: NJPS correctly departs from the more familiar translation, “The LORD [YHVH] our God, the LORD is one” (see translators’ note b, end). Each of the two interpretations is theoretically possible because, in Hebrew, it is possible to form a sentence by simply joining a subject and a predicate, without specifying the verb “to be.” The Hebrew here thus allows either “YHVH, our God, YHVH is one” or “YHVH, is our God, YHVH alone.” The first, older translation, which makes a statement about the unity and the indivisibility of God, does not do full justice to this text (though it makes sense in a later Jewish context as a polemic against Christianity). The verse makes not a quantitative argument (about the number of deities) but a qualitative one, about the nature of the relationship between God and Israel. Almost certainly, the original force of the verse, as the medieval Jewish exegetes in translators’ note b recognized, was to demand Israel show exclusive loyalty to our God, YHVH – but not thereby to deny the existence of other gods! In this way, it assumes the same perspective as the first commandment of the Decalogue, which, by prohibiting the worship of other gods, presupposes their existence (see 5.7 n.). Once true monotheism became the norm in the Second Temple period, this earlier perspective became unintelligible. Second Temple readers and translators of the Shema were thus forced to read this and similar passages in a way that made them consistent with the normative monotheism (see 32.8 n.; cf. 4.15-31 n.; 5.9 n.). That process of reinterpretation is already evident in the Septuagint’s translation (3rd century BCE): “the LORD is one.” As the basis for most subsequent translations, that reading is the source for the common understanding of the verse. Alone: The traditional translation (see translators’ note b) preserves the normal use of Hebrew “’ehad,” “one,” which may have contributed to interpreting the Shema as a declaration of monotheism. But what it might mean to say that God is “one” is unclear, since that is not the same as affirming there is only one God (Isaiah 44.6; 45.5-7, 14, 18, 21; 46.9). Nor is it likely that the verse intends to clarify that there is only one YHVH, as opposed to many YHVHs, since there was no difficulty in recognizing that different manifestations of a divinity could derive from a single god (Exodus 6.3). NJPS thus properly understands “’ehad” to mean “alone,” i.e. “exclusively.” This interpretation receives support in the prophet Zechariah’s interpretation of this verse: “In that day there shall be one LORD with one name” (Zechariah 14.9 and translator note d).
The modern interpretation is not only anachronistic, it is a polemic against Christianity; which can only mean, a polemic against the Christian understanding of the qualitive nature of 'elohiym to be fully revealed as the triune nature (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) of God. This is the most satisfactory explanation of how the Old Testament narrates the making of man:
And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... (Genesis 1:26)
the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
It is us (plural) who decide to make man; it is the LORD God (singular) who carries out the plan.
1. Bernard M. Levenson, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 375-6
2. Ibid., p. 380
Actually, the best and simplest demonstration that God is both One (and only) and yet more than one person is the greatest text in all the Scripture, found twice for emphasis:
1 John 4:8, 16 - "God is Love"
If love is the very essence of the eternal God's existence and substance, and that love is other-centered, then the One God cannot be single person but must be more than one person but still a single God. Such a truth is seen many times in the Bible.
In the NT we often see the ONE God referred to as three persons: Matt 3:16, 17, 12:28, 28:19, Mark 1:10,11, Luke 3:21, 22, John 1:32, 14:26, 15:26-16:14, Acts 2:33, 10:38, Rom 1:2-4, 8:9, 15:30, 1 Cor 6:11, 12:2-6, 2 Cor 13:14, Gal 3:11-14, 4:6, Eph 1:17, 2:18, 22, Titus 3:6, Heb 9:14, 10:29, 1 Peter 1:2, 3, 3:18, 4:14, Jude 20, 21.
In the OT we also see the ONE YHWH as more than one person:
- Zech 2:6-12 – the LORD (= YHWH) claims three times that He has been sent by the LORD.
- Isa 48:11-16 – again, the LORD has been sent by the LORD.
- Isa 63:7-16 – the LORD (described as a Father) sends His divine servant (the angel of His presence) and His Holy Spirit who is grieved (compare Ps 78:40).
- Ex 23:20 – the angel of the LORD’s presence has the power to forgive sin (but will not). This and the previous reference clearly make the angel of the presence the pre-incarnate Jesus.
- Hos 1:7 – the LORD saves by the LORD their God.
- Prov 30:1-4 – the Son of God is as unfathomable as God Himself.
- Psalm 110 – “The LORD says to my Lord” – Jesus asked about this Psalm on how someone could be both Son and Lord of David – see Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34.
- Ps 45 (quoted by Heb 1) talks about the “Son” being God in addition to God the Father.
Thus, we have the great truth that is is truly only ONE and one only God, but God is three persons who are ONE (Deut 6:4) just as in a marriage, the husband and wife are one (Gen 2:24 - same word, echad).
One God vs triune God. Where is the truth?
There is only One God.
Father and Son are two distinct individuals
Matthew 26:39 NASB
39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
If the Father and the Son were not distinct individuals such a prayer would be a hypocrisy, Jesus would be praying to himself, and the will would be his and not the Father's.
Jesus says that he is distinct and separate from the Father
John 8:17-18 NET
17 It is written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I testify about myself and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”
Jesus is the beginning of God's creation, (Compare Proverbs 8:22)
Revelation 3:14 NASB
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the [a]Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
Revelation 3:14 KJV
1 4 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Colossians 1:15-16 NASB
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
My Father is greater than I.
John 14:28 KJV
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
"God is the head of Christ." Paul wrote this many years after Jesus ascended to heaven, such a statement would be a lie if Jesus was a coequal in the Godhead.
1 Corinthians 11:3 NASB
3 But I want you to understand that [a]Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Jesus is a Divine Being.
In John 1:1c, should the Greek word θεὸς be translated into English as “a god” or “God”?
Three great translators of the Greek scriptures, translate John 1:1c,into English "the Word was divine" (James Moffat, Edgar J Goodspeed, and Westcott ) Also Jason David Beduhn in his book Truth in Translation reaches the same conclusion.
James Moffat New Testament. (1926)
1:1 "THE Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine."
The New American Translation by Edgar J Goodspeed and J.M.P. Smith (1949)
1:1 "In the beginning the Word existed, the word was with God and the Word was divine."
ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 1:1 1881 (WHNU)
1 εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
Holy Spirit = The Power of the Most High
Luke 1:31-32 NASB "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
34" Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 "The angel answered her, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence what is born will be called holy, Son of God." (J.Moffat Luke 1:34,35)
And Luke says: Jesus started his ministry in the power of the spirit. " And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district." Luke 4:14 NASB
Jesus promised his Apostles that they will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you. "You will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses at Jerusalem, throughout all Judaea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (J. Moffat Acts 1:8)"
In his prayer, Paul spoke that the disciples will be filled with joy and power of the holy spirit.
" Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."Romans 15:13 (NASB)
If you want to know the truth about God you should not search the Bible hoping to find a text that can construe into a preconceived belief, and disregard the rest of the scriptures, some of them mentioned above. Some verses may be read in more than one way, but when compared to other verses, their meaning becomes clear. Many texts used to support a triune God, usually mention only two persons, not three. These verses do not prove that the Bible teaches the there is a coequal Godhead.
Just see and consider this: if, for example, in 1000 occasions a person, say a girl whom I like, behaves towards me in a way as to leave me in ambiguity whether she likes me romantically or not, but in just three occasions, or even one occasion she smiled towards me in a way that disseminated all my doubts and showed me her romantic openness towards me and only me in the whole world (for this is the true romantic liking, which suffers sharing itself with no other person in the world), then I will say that this one instance is enough for me to state like does the "Beatles" in its famous song: "She loves me, yea, yea, yea!"
Similarly, if in the whole Scriptures it was only John saying that "In the beginning was Logos, and the Logos was with God, and Logos was God" and further, that everything that is created is created through this very Logos who therefore is uncreated Himself and since uncreated, therefore God (for only God is other than created) in no lesser sense than Father is God, then consider that your beloved girl smiled back to you with no ambiguity left and you can sing joyfully without any trace of doubt: "She loves me, yea, yea, yea", and "Logos is God and co-worshipped with the Father, amen!", and Who gave you this salutary insight is of course the Holy Spirit, for nobody is able to grasp Jesus' Godhead unless by Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).
But not only John of course speaks about Godhead of Jesus, but it is said everywhere in the Gospels: in Him forgiving sins authoritatively; in Him working miracles authoritatively without prayers but Himself; in Him knowing human hearts, which only God can; in Him accepting worship and even urging people to worship Him just as they worship the Father etc. etc.
Q. Where is the truth?
As believers in the God of Jesus and the son He sent, we have the word left for us that teaches and reveals all we need to know and some of what we want to know.
The bible clearly does not teach or reveal a trinity unless one -
- focusses on a partially corrupted text made to support a trinitarian version of God.
- trusts writings from men centuries after the canonical books were written.
- ignores plain and consistent teaching about a Jesus who said himself he was a man, who had, and has the same God we do, who is subordinate to the Father and God in everything - even once raised from the dead to new immortal life (by his Father) and exalted to 'heaven' to be with the Father for the first time.
- cobbles together various 'proof texts' that on their own, seem to lend some support for a trinity, but when allowed to stand in context, and joined with the remaining verses, speak of a truth quite different to the one proposed in isolation.
- persists with the traditionally taught (orthodox) Christian theology that is based on things the early church never heard of and certainly never believed in. (Furthermore, daring to make this contrived doctrine the foremost of all! Even requiring acceptance of such for salvation)
- is prepared to accept a different gospel than the one left for us - the life of Jesus, experienced by Jesus' own disciples who became apostles and wrote the most important literary work on earth - the very word of God. The true gospel tells of a man, made like us in every way, who was tempted as we are, who could do nothing of himself, whose very words were from the Father, who died a human death and was brought back to life - a new life of spirit - the same one that faithful believers too will be endowed with at his return to realise the magnificent kingdom of God at last!
The truth then is ever before us - with the wide variety of quality resources, there is every opportunity to see God's word anew. However, the truth has been repressed for a long time - it is not readily recognised even when plainly visible and carefully explained.
People have older bibles like the King James and this has many 'adjustments' that are not helpful to see the truth intended by God. Just a quick look at some important verses across the many translations shows them all to have issues presenting the truth without bias. The biased reading is very familiar to us and hard to dismiss even when the error is pointed out.
- May we recognise the additions and wholly dismiss them once and for all.
- We can accept the words of Jesus at face value - as they were intended, without guile or mystery... We should not need a doctorate to understand the words of the son of God sent to save the world! 'I am a man who has told you the truth' John 8:40; 'The Father is greater than I, John 14:28'; 'I can do nothing of myself' John 5:30; when ascended, he still refers to God as 'his God' Rev 1:6, 3:12.
- We can accept the words of the apostles who clearly and consistently echoed Jesus words about being a servant and forever subordinate to God the Father. Jesus 'offered prayers to the one who could save him from death' Heb 5:7; Jesus is appointed heir Heb 1:2 (which is odd if he supposedly made everything?)
- If Jesus is God, he cannot be tempted by evil. The devil knew exactly who Jesus was Matt 4:6 and tempted him his whole life. Jesus was made like us Heb 2:17 either he was a man like us, or he was still fully God masquerading as a man - which is nothing like us.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matt 16:15
He had to be made like His brothers in every way Heb 2:17
Either he was or he wasn't. How can he be like us in every way and still be God? It's impossible. How can God be tempted or die? Either he was God or he wasn't. We need to pick one. The bible is clear - Jesus is a man - no one says he is God anywhere. Sure some verses might lend themselves to such a thought, but they must be understood by other plain and simple verses that do not need any interpretation. All the text must agree with itself. A God/man Jesus does not fit the complete text - it hardly fits any text.
The apostles mention, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' so many times. There's no logical or scriptural way around Jesus having a God unless he is a man - made like us - in every way.
Someone asked about the corruptions. There have been dozens. Most have been rectified in recent times as it became impossible to ignore the purposeful changing of the biblical text to suit a trinitarian bias, but many remain.
These errors/additions have left a legacy of devoted readers and teachers who are not aware of the subverted truth in their hearts, minds and bibles. People still use these as proof texts - including here on BH.
God was manifested in the flesh 1 Tim 3:16 N/KJV
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7
Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. Jude 1:5
Many scriptures that refer to the holy spirit as a 'person' with masculine pronouns of he and him etc.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 'nor the Son' omitted NKJV NET ABE AKJV etc
The words 'return' or 'going back' have been added to simulate Jesus being in heaven before his birth and thus going back when resurrected John 16:5,28, 13:1,3, 20:17, 14:28
God who created all things. 'through Jesus Christ' added Eph 3:9
'to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ' N/KJV instead of, 'the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ' ESV & most others
John 1:18 'only begotten God'
While many errors have been remedied, changing Jesus to God, removing the word 'man' when referring to Jesus, adding 'return' to Jesus ascension and others have left a legacy of untruth and misinformation. Who is responsible for these additions? Why are they still there? Why did they think this was important enough to add words, a whole verse and change many other words to promote another gospel?