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Godhead – Three Gods or One?

Godhead - Three or One
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Godhead - Three or One

What is the Godhead?

The term Godhead as used in the new testament is defined as the state or quality of being divine.
In other words it is the essential nature and attributes which a divine being possesses. When the Bible refers to the term Godhead it is referring to the divine nature of God i.e. the qualities and attributes which are unique to God.

The Bible uses the word Godhead in three places:

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead (theios) is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Acts 17:29

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead (theiotēs); so that they are without excuse

Romans 1:20

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead (theotēs) bodily.

Colossians 2:9

These verses tell us the following about God’s divine nature:

1. No other being, created or uncreated possesses this divine nature except God.

2. The creative power of God is what separates the Godhead from the false gods.

3. Jesus possesses the Godhead or divine nature.

How many God’s does the Bible teach?

The Bible clearly teaches that there are three independent beings and each one of them are fully God.
So contrary to the trinity doctrine there are three God’s and not one God.

Click here to learn more about the Trinity

The Bible is clear that only the creator is God. So lets see how many beings were present and participating in the creation of this world.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

Genesis 1:26

In this passage God is clearly speaking to atleast another being who is also God because He says let us make man in our image.

Note that only God has the power or ability to make or create, therefore the Being He is addressing has to be God as well because none of the created beings have the ability to create mankind.

Genesis 1:2, clearly indicates the presence of the Spirit of God as the other Being who was present and a participant of the creation event.

…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2

But is that it? or does scripture indicate the presence of a third being who participated in creation.

John 1:1-3, tells us that the third being with God was the Word who manifested himself as the person we know by the name of Jesus.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:1-3

Therefore the Biblical scriptures are very clear that there are three divine beings in the GodHead who took part in the creation of man.

Jesus makes this clear in His last words on planet Earth when He commands his disciples to teach people about the Godhead which consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 28:19

We have many other passages in the new testament which make this clear such as 1 John 5:7 and 2 Corinthians 13:14

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

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

2 Corinthians 13:14

Doesn’t the Bible teach that there is only one God?

The Bible teaches us that the oneness of God is not in relation to numerical quantity but in the sense of unity.
Unlike the unbiblical teaching of the trinity which claims that God is one anatomically and numerically, the Bible clearly teaches that the three beings are one in unity and purpose.

The New Testament verses about God’s oneness

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

I and my Father are one.

John 10:30

Some people are quick to seize the two Bible passages above to claim that this supports the concept of a three in one God.
Nothing could be further from the truth because a quick examination of the Bible passages will make it clear that these passages no where claim that there is only 1 God who is three persons.

So what do the passages really mean?

In John 10:30, Jesus claimed that He and His Father are one.

The Greek word translated in English as one in this passage comes from the Greek work heis which can be used to mean absolute numerical oneness as in Matthew 26:21 where Jesus tells His disciples that Judas would betray Jesus into the hands of the Romans.

And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one (heis) of you shall betray me.

Matthew 26:21

or heis can also mean oneness in the sense of unity as in Galatians 3:28 where the apostle Paul tells us that those who believe in Jesus are united as one in Jesus Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one (heis) in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

As you can see the word one can be used to mean absolute numerical unity or it can be used to show group unity.
This brings us back to the original question, what did Jesus really mean when He said that He and His Father are one.

Well neither the passage nor the context explains this, however you can use a very simple and sound Biblical principle to arrive at the correct answer. When a particular passage is difficult to understand, you should look for other Bible passages which talk about the subject in question and determine the teaching from clear Bible passages. So in other words let the Bible be its own interpreter and you can be absolutely sure that you are on solid ground.

Lets examine Jesus’s prayer to the Father in John 17

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

John 17:20-23

Here Jesus clearly compares the oneness between Himself and the Father to the oneness which should exist between the disciples.
Clearly the disciples and later all Christians who believe in Jesus did not morph into one being but became one in unity, purpose and belief in the true Gospel.
So Jesus makes it absolutely clear that His oneness with the Father is not anatomical but rather in agreement and purpose.

Doesn’t 1 John 5:7 clearly say that God is one numerically i.e. He is one Being but three in person?

Lets read the context

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

1 John 5:7-8

In 1 John 5:8, The Bible clearly explains that the three are one in agreement. So here we have another Bible verse which tells us that we have three God Beings who work in agreement and harmony.

Old testament verses about God’s oneness

Arguably the most famous verse for the Israelites from the old testament is Deuteronomy 6:4

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

Deuteronomy 6:4

This verse more than any other has been the hallmark of Jewish belief in monotheism i.e one numerical God.

Well doesn’t this verse then contradict what we have been trying to establish through other scriptures that there are more than one God?

On the surface level it does seem to mean that there is only one absolute God but lets dig a little deeper.

The Hebrew word used here for one is echad. It occurs 952 times in the Hebrew Bible. We have to admit that in a majority of the verses it is used to denote a singular absolute one but this is not always the case. Take for instance the following passages:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.

Genesis 2:24

6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one (echad), and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Genesis 11:6-7

In Genesis 2:24, the Bible tells us that after marriage the husband and wife become one flesh, i.e. they are united as one family in unity. Echad here definitely doesn’t mean that they morph into a single body.

Its the same in Genesis 11:6, the people become united together as one in their rebellion against God.

Can you see how echad can also represent unity of thought, purpose, aim, belief etc.

Hence we cannot dismiss the idea that in Deuteronomy 6:4, echad can mean oneness in unity and purpose. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because you will see shortly as indicated in our study below that the belief system prevalent during Biblical times was paganism which portrayed a myriad of gods constantly contending and battling with one other vying for position and power. This has had a significant influence on the mindsets of people who think of God like created beings who are selfish and greedy for power and control. An important point to note here is that for every Biblical truth, satan has a counterfeit to deceive people.

Hence God in his revelations wanted to establish a distinction between pagan Gods and the true heavenly trio. God wants us to understand that the GodHead of the Bible is always united in their work and always work in harmony unlike the false pagan deities who are constantly portrayed as having malice and enmity towards one another.

Common scriputes used to support the doctrine of monotheism:

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 44:6

5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:5-6

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.

Isaiah 45:21

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

Isaiah 46:9

35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.

39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Deuteronomy 4:35,39

In order to understand these old testament scriptures about God correctly we need to first realize the following:

Jesus is the God of the old testament
“Abide With Me” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. www.GregOlsen.com

1. Jesus is the God of the old testament.

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 1:18

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

John 5:37

In these verses Jesus clearly claimed that no one man knows the Father nor has anyone seen the Father. He declares that no man has even heard the Father’s voice! If this is the case then clearly the God who interacted with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, spoke to Moses in the burning bush, spoke the ten commandments audibly to the Israelites from Mount Sinai cannot be the Father.

So who was the God who interacted with people during the old testament times?
In order to find the answer, let us examine the Exodus story of the Israelites as this is one of the most remarkable instances when God came down to earth and interacted with humans like never before.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exodus 13:21

When the Israelites were fleeing from Pharaoh’s army they were outnumbered and would be destroyed if God had not intervened.
This scripture tells us that God himself came down in a pillar of cloud and fire to protect the Israelites.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, the Bible tells us that the One who protected the Israelites was none other than Christ Himself because it was Christ who followed the Israelites in the clound and fire.

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:4

Also during the journey through the wilderness, the Israelites spoke against God so in His anger God killed the disobedient ones by sending snakes.

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Number 21:5-6

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:9 makes it clear that the Lord who the Israelites tempted was Christ.

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

1 Corinthians 10:9

2. The Father and the Holy Spirit were not explicitly revealed in the old testament.

Although enough hints were given to show that there exist more than one God. One of Jesus’s mission was to introduce the Father and the Holy Spirit to humanity.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Matthew 11:27

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:7

3. God (Jesus) wanted to show the Israelites that He was different and separate from the false pagan deities.

People at that time were worshiping all sorts of created beings and non living objects as gods. Hence they had a poor and distorted view of the Holy God. It is in this context that God was showing Himself to be God alone and hence the legitimate person to whom all worship is due. Also during the old testament times only Jesus was revealed as God, it is perfectly reasonable for Him to claim that there is no other God to worship but Him because the Father and the Holy Spirit were not explicitly revealed yet!

When God revealed the old testament scriptures to Moses and the prophets, the surrounding nations were deeply steeped into false pagan beliefs and worship of false Gods. This had considerable sway on the Israelites who were constantly influenced by the pagan deities. God wanted to correct this false misconception and bring the Israelites into the correct worship of Himself.

With this understanding lets read the passages which proponents of the trinity and monotheists use to claim that there is only one God numerically.

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 44:6

Here God is referring to Himself with two titles: “Redeemer” and “first and the last”. You can read the entire Bible and the only one who is referred to with these two titles is Jesus. The Father and the Holy Spirit are never referred to with these two titles:

The context of Revelation 1:17 is that John is taken to Heaven in a vision and sees Jesus. Here Jesus introduces Himself by using a title which is only used attributed to God.

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

Revelation 1:17

Redeemer and Saviour are interchangeable titles used for God:

And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Isaiah 49:26

In the new testament only Jesus is referred to as the Saviour.

Jesus is Saviour

Also if Jesus is just a human, then why does the Angel Gabriel call Jesus Lord?

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:13

Now that we have established the fact that Jesus is the God speaking in Isaiah 44:6, lets read the whole context

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.

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.

9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.

10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.

13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.

14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.

15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:

17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

Isaiah 44:6,8-17

In these verses God is clearly warning people not to make and worship idols, He is showing a clear distinction between His divine nature and the false, weak man made gods that people are worshiping. Here God is calling people to worship Him because He is the true God and creator and not the other false deities. It is in this context that God declares that the other false gods are no match for Him and that He is the only true God deserving worship.

It is exactly the same in Isaiah 45:5-6

5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:5-6

If we read the context in Isaiah 45:12-18, God is clarifying that He is the creator and the false gods are not divine, hence they are not worthy of worship. It is in this context that Jesus says that there are no other God. Remember that this is stated in comparison to the false pagan gods. The Father and the Holy Spirit were not fully revealed as divine until the preaching of the Gospel by Jesus, hence at that time there was no other God to worship other than Jesus.

12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:12-18

Let us read the context of these verses

14 Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.

17 But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Isaiah 45:14,16-17,20

Jesus further clarifies that He is the true Creator who made everything and the idols that people are worshiping are worthless and cannot save them. God is praising Israel because they are honoring the true creator unlike nations around them who are following false deities.

Verse 14 makes it clear that pagan nations are going to confess that Jesus is the true God and there is no other (i.e. pagan false deities) like Him.

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.

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Isaiah 45:21-23

Note two important points about God here:

♦ God declares that He is the Saviour of the world.

♦ All created beings will bow down on their knees and confess to God.

The New testament clearly attributes both these statements to Jesus. Not once are these statements used in reference to either the Father or the Holy Spirit.

For example the New Testament speaking about Jesus in Acts 4:12 confirms the following

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

Also in verse Isaiah 45:23 God is saying that every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess that He is God.

The New testament confirms that this God is Jesus in Philippians 2:10-11

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

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

Here again if you read the below context it can be clearly seen that God is stating that He is God and none of the other so called deities are really gods. The pagan false gods can in no way be compared to the true living Creator.

5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.

Isaiah 46:5-6

Did you notice how God is contrasting Himself with the false man made idols which people have taken up as gods.

Finally to conclude that our understanding of scripture is correct, let us read another passage in Isaiah 48:16 which clearly dispels any misconception that anyone might have concerning the number of Gods that actually exist.

13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Isaiah 48:13,16-17

Lets analyse these statements of God:

In verses 13 and 16 God is stressing on the fact that He is the Creator and He has always existed. Question is why does He need to state the obvious? Could it be because He knows that a time will come when people will try to doubt that He is the Creator?

One of the most intriguing statements that God has uttered in the Hebrew Scriptures is in Isaiah 48:16 when the Creator Himself states that He has been sent by two other Gods, The Lord God and His Spirit! Notice how this contrasts with the Hebrew understanding that there is only one God.

God says that He has been sent by the other two Gods to lead mankind in the right way.

We know that there are three persons who are referred to as God in the New Testament, The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.

Which one of the three do you think is speaking here?

Lets rule out the Spirit because He is mentioned as one of the other two Gods. This leaves us with the Father and the Son. Did the Father send Jesus or did Jesus send the Father to the earth?

Well Jesus himself clearly stated that He was sent by the Father with a mission to save mankind.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16-17

See how this beautifully lines up with Isaiah 48:16-17, even the verse numbers are the same!

Jesus was the God who was specifically sent to save the world, therefore He is the one given the titles of Saviour, Redeemer, etc and this is why we are told that Jesus is the only way to Salvation.

The scriptures not only confirms beyond a shadow of doubt that the old testament God is none other than Jesus Himself but the Bible also sheds light that there are three God Beings.

35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.
39Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Deuteronomy 4:35,39

Here again at the surface level it may appear that the passage is declaring that Yahweh is the true God and there is no one else.But if we read the context two things become very clear:

♦ The Yahweh or Lord mentioned here is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit but rather it is Jesus.

Moses in Deuteronomy 4:33 tells us that on Mount Horeb, all the Israelities heard God’s voice.

33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?

Deuteronomy 4:33

But lets fast forward 1500 years into the future and listen to Jesus’s words in John 5:37

37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

John 5:37

Here Jesus is clearly stating that no one has heard the Father’s voice. So who was it that spoke to the Israelites from mount Horeb?

Well if the Father never spoke then it had to be Jesus. This also lines up with other scriptures which tell us that it is the Lord Jesus who has been interacting with humans.

♦ Jesus is again contrasting Himself to the false pagan deities. He is making it clear that His nature is not comparable to living or non living created objects.

It is in this sense that God is declared to be unique and there is no earthly or heavenly created being or object that shares in his divine nature or GodHead. God alone deserves the worship due to the creator.

The context of Deuteronomy 4 makes it clear that God was telling the Israelites not to worship false gods as the pagans do. God was clear that the pagan gods are nothing like Him because He is the creator and the true God by nature, Therefore He alone is worthy of worship.

16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.

28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

Deuteronomy 4:16-19,23,28

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