Three gods or One God in Three Persons?

By Dudley Ross Spears

The Bible teaches there is only one God.

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?”

Romans 3:30 “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

I Corinthians 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Ephesians 4:6 “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

I 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.”

There is but one Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord:”

Zechariah 14:9 “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.”

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

I Corinthians 8:6 ‘But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Notice how “one” is used in the Scriptures: Paul said in Romans 12:4 “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” In yet another reference to the church Paul said, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).

Jesus taught that two persons can be one without losing their individual identity. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5-6). Likewise He prayed that all believers might be one. Read John 17:20-22 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” In neither passage does the term one mean one person. Nor does one mean one person when the Scriptures speak of one God or one Lord.

The issue turns on the meaning of the biblical term, Godhead, which means “Deity, the state of being God or divinity.” To contend that since the Bible says there is one God – or One Lord – that there is only one person who is Deity is as foolish as contending that since the Bible says a man and wife are one flesh that there is but one person after the marriage union is complete. Such is rank ignorance of divine principles of truth. A man and woman who are married scripturally are “one flesh” but remain two distinct persons. All who obey the apostle’s inspired words are made one in Christ (John 17:20) but that does not mean they all become one person. If countless billions can be “one” and remain distinct human beings by obeying the gospel of Christ, surely three divine Beings can be one and remain distinct divine beings.

A United Pentecostal creed book reads: “We believe in the one ever living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation. … This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in divers ways; in the Son while He walked among men; as the Holy Spirit after the ascension.” (Manual, United Pentecostal Church, page 17). Some of those who adhere to this creedal dictum explain it this way. “God is one person, who has manifested Himself in creation as Father, in redemption as Son, and in the Church as the Holy Ghost,”

This false doctrine about God’s personality is extremely dangerous. If God exists eternally as only one person, manifesting Himself in three different modes, He is not (and cannot be) a manifestation of all three simultaneously. Either God is Father (as Pentecostals say He was in creation) or He is the Son, as they claim He was in redemption, or He is the Holy Spirit now. He cannot be all three at the same time and be but one person. This brings a serious consequence they must face. If Jesus was God manifest in the Son, but God is now manifesting Himself as the Holy Spirit, Jesus is not now the Son of God. Those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God are anti-Christ. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23). Those who affirm only one person of God but three separate manifestations cannot acknowledge the Son and the Father also. They must deny that Jesus is now manifest as God. It is just that simple and that is very serious.

To prove there are three separate and distinct beings of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all that is needed is to go to the Bible. It furnishes abundant evidence of the identity of each of the three divine Beings who make up the one Godhead. Please follow along in your Bible.

Genesis 1:26 reads: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…” The Hebrew word Elohim is defined as: “… specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God..” It appears some 2500 times in the Old Testament and is always a plural word. Notice that God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Us and our are plural pronouns. Every high school student recognizes the rule of grammar that “a pronoun agrees with its antecedent in person, number and gender.” (Plain English Handbook, page 20, section 125). The fact that Elohim is a plural word explains why the pronouns us and our are used. Consider another Old Testament reference to God. “Come, let us (plural) go down, and there confound their language” (Genesis 11:7) Verse 8 adds, “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” The word for Lord here is Jaweh, the self-existent or eternal God.

Another passage affirming the plurality of God in the Old Testament is, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). The Hebrew word for Creator in this verse is plural. The Creator in Ecclesiastes 12:1 is the God of Genesis 1:26 and consists of the three divine Beings, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The New Testament is just as emphatic that there are three separate and distinct Divine Beings of God. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 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?” (Hebrews 1:1-5).

The first person, the Father, uses the pronoun, “I, Me, My” (verse 5). Of the Son, the Father uses the pronouns “Thee, Thy ..” Both the Father and the Son are mentioned and the Son is called “the express image” of the person of God. It is obvious that the Son cannot be the express image of something non-existent. This passage shows that the Father is a Divine, and that the Son is the express image of that person. It would be interesting to hear some Pentecostal preachers explain how Jesus could be the express image of the person of the Father, since they deny that the Father is a person separate and distinct from the Son.

The New Testament also teaches the distinct identity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 28:19. Jesus commissioned His apostles to “Go teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We hear some who say that there is only one name for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, based on this verse. But name singular does not mean one name for all three divine Beings. Read with me from Isaiah 9:6. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Notice that name is singular, but includes at least five names. Matthew 28:19 is irrefutable proof of the identity and existence of the three separate and distinct Divine Beings who make up the one Godhead.

There is one God composed of three Divine Persons. Scriptural baptism is into the name of the divine Three. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct persons. They are the one true and living God Almighty. We follow the teaching Christ gave His apostles. We baptize people on His authority (in His name) into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

A second-century heretic called Sabellius argued, “but one person in the divine essence; or he denied that the Father was one person, the Son another person, and the Holy Spirit a third; of course he discarded the inherent distinction of three persons.” (Moshheim’s Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Century IIl, Part II, Chapter 5, page 198, Footnote (12). Any unbiased person can quickly see the origin of the modern-day heresy of “one person in the Godhead.” It did not start with a Holy Spirit guided prophet, apostle, or teacher. It began in heresy and remains heretical. It must not be allowed to go unopposed. It is a discredit to the sacred “Trinity” and misleads many people into error on one of the most basic of all Bible doctrines – the Personality of the Divine Godhead. Originally published in Gospel Truths, Vol. IV, Number 6, June 1993, PP.13-14 

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