Yesterday, we started a discussion about the Godhead (i.e., the Divine Nature composed of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). We emphasized the point that God is one. Now, let us consider a similar statement with a different emphasis.
THERE IS ONE GOD
James 2:19 tells us – “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble!” There is one God, period. Or perhaps more accurately, there is only one true and living God–only one real God. People often create their own gods, but they are not real or genuine. Idolatry is alive and well today (cf. Col. 3:5), but there is not a plurality of true, living gods.
Some have the mistaken notion that there are three Gods in the Bible–the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. This cannot be true for James plainly says that there is one God, not three! There is one God–one Divine Essence shared by three distinguishable Individuals: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Let us consider some Scriptures that show Their distinguishable nature. These are passages where all three Members of the Godhead are listed separately:
(1) Matthew 3:16,17 – At Jesus’ baptism, the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit are all involved in a different action. As Jesus comes up from the water, the Holy Spirit is seen descending like a dove, and the Father’s voice is heard from heaven. Thus, these three cannot be the same Individual; They are distinguishable.
(2) In Matthew 28:18-20, instructions are given for baptism to be done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, there is no Old Testament passage that uses this terminology, but glimpses of the three Individuals of the Godhead can be seen in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 48:12-16). It is true that the Old Testament is not very clear on the subject of the Godhead. God’s will on this subject was progressively revealed. There are other doctrines like this in the Scriptures. For example, the Old Testament says very little about the resurrection, but you do see glimpses of it (Dan. 12:2). The fact is that the doctrine doesn’t burst into full bloom, so to speak, until God’s completed revelation is set forth in the New Testament.
(3) In John 14:16,17, Jesus says He will pray to the Father to send another Comforter (i.e., the Holy Spirit). Jesus is an intercessor. The Father is the giver who will authorize the sending of the Spirit. The Spirit is the comforter; in fact, He is another comforter, not the same comforter as Jesus. Again, we see three Individuals in three different roles. Some hold the false doctrine that there is no such thing as the Godhead. They believe that there is only one Individual (not three) who possesses the Divine Nature and that sometimes He manifests Himself as the Father, at other times as the Son, and still at other times as the Spirit. This passage (and many others), shows this concept to be ridiculous. Who did Jesus pray to–Himself? Who did Jesus ascend back to–Himself (cf. John 14:12)?
(4) Ephesians 4:4-6 lists seven “ones.” One Spirit, one Lord, and one Father are included on the list. They are not the same, just as the one baptism is not the same as the one hope or the one body, etc. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguishable, yet they share the same Divine Nature.
Here are some other passages worth considering on this subject: I Corinthians 12:4-6; II Corinthians 13:14; I Peter 1:2; Jude 20,21.
Often in the Scriptures, the Father is called God (John 6:27). But sometimes Jesus is called God (Heb. 1:8; John 20:28), and sometimes the Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3,4). The question is: How can we explain this if there is only one God? If the Father is God, if the Son is God, and if the Holy Spirit is God, then how is there only one God? Admittedly, that is difficult to satisfactorily explain to our finite minds. The only conclusion I can draw is what I suggested earlier: there is only one Divine Essence (Godhead or Godhood) shared by three distinguishable Individuals. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all designated as God because all three possess the divine nature–they possess that which makes them deity. Truly, God is one and there is only one God.