IS THERE ONE GOD OR THREE?
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The word "TRINITY" does not appear in Scripture. Yet, it is a Scriptural doctrine. The word "rapture" does not appear in Scripture either. Tertullian (190-211 A.D.) is generally credited with being the first to use the word "Trinity". The term pre-dated the Catholic church by many years. Many Trinitarians opposed the rise of the Catholic movement.
Some Oneness people will say that Trinitarianism is a DEVELOPED DOCTRINE, and therefore must be error. If systematic development of doctrine is a crime, then Oneness groups are extra-guilty. The doctrine of salvation was revealed very slowly in the Bible. God progressively revealed the need of a Sacrifice, taught them how to offer a lamb etc. Finally, God sent Jesus to be our Lamb. We are still learning all that salvation provides for us, as forgiven sinners. Progressive revelation does not prove error.
True monotheism is believed by Trinitarians. Our emphasis is shown on the THREE, because of the unscriptural use of "one". Trinitarians believe in One God. A distorted picture is purported by our opponents. The Trinity is One Godhead composed of three personalities.
Trinitarians still believe these Scriptures.
"The Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him."
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord."
"See now that I, even I am He, and there is no god with me."
II Samuel 7:22, I Chronicles 17:20
"neither is there any God beside Thee."
"Thou art God alone."
"beside Me there is no God."
"Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one (Greek = heis, means one in number, or one in unity) Lord.'"
"God is one." (Here it means the God of the Jews and of the Gentiles is the same God.)
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. The devils also believe and tremble."
Oneness groups then ask (and they have a right to so challenge), if God is One, how can He be three! But Oneness of God does not exclude plurality.
NOTE THESE SCRIPTURES:
"a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh."
"Behold the people is one." (at Babel)
"And Joseph said to Pharaoh, the dream of Pharaoh is one."
"And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as We are one."
"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul."
I John 5:7
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."
This last verse in I John is condemned by the Oneness groups as uninspired. They claim to be the strongest defenders of the Word, and yet, they want to remove passages which disagree with them. The true understanding of any doctrine will be supported by all Scripture. When any group needs to discount, remove, or ignore any passage... there is something wrong with their doctrine.
In the Scripture, the use of the word "one" is more of "unity" than it is of number. For instance, let us examine Deuteronomy 6:4:
"Hear of Israel, the Lord our God is one."
The word translated "one" is "achid" which means "a united one." The Lord could have used the word "yachid" which means "an absolute one", but He chose to use the other word. This is because the "Elohim" (plural of "El", which means 'Almighty God') is one in unity of mind and purpose.
Some other examples of the words "achid" and "yachid" are these:
Genesis 1 says that the "evening and the morning" were "one (achid) day."
Genesis 2:24 tells us that two partners were married by God and became "one flesh." This is also "achid."
Genesis 22:2 shows Abraham being commanded to "take thy son, thine only son..." This is the word "yachid" for it was the absolute one son that was referred to.
Oneness groups have committed the same sin as mentioned in Jeremiah 23:36:
"For ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts, our God."
The Hebrew letter 'schin' is the initial letter of the word "Shaddai." It had been taken by the Jews to represent the divine existence. It is composed of three perpendicular lines, with one to unite them. In pronouncing the priestly benediction of Numbers 6:24-26, the rabbis today still lift their hands in blessing over the people. The hands are held with the fingers of each hand depicting three strokes joined together as in the letter 'schin'.
Judaic monotheism has now become Christian monotheism. We believe in One God, a united One, made up of three personalities Who are united in will, mind, and purpose so much that it is often hard to distinguish between Them.
They advance many arguments to try to prove that plurality is not taught. There are so many Scriptures to either ignore, or claim to be uninspired... that they are forced to isolate themselves from those who do study the Scriptures.
In the Old Testament, the first name given to us for God is "Elohim". This is the plural form of "El" which means "Almighty God." Elohim occurs over 2000 times in the Bible.
"Bereshith bara Elohim eth hashamayim veeth haarets."
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
"Elohim is joined by plural adjectives, plural forms of verbs, and plural pronouns. (Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, 20:13, 31:7,53). This is the first revelation of God to mankind, that the Godhead is made up of more than one personality.
The Bible has frequent references to God with pronouns that are plural.
"Let Us make man in Our image."
"Behold, the man is become one of Us."
"Go to, let Us go down and there confound their language."
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
Conversations of One of the Trinity to Another of the Trinity are recorded in Scripture.
"Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God."
"When He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me."
"Father, glorify Thy name, Then there came a voice from heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
"For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell (sheol), neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."
"The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee."
"The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Adonai), Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."
Three are declared to be God. First, we know One Whom we call GOD, THE FATHER. Then, we know another as JESUS, THE SON. A third member of the Trinity is the HOLY SPIRIT.
I Peter 1:2
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God."
"But unto the Son, He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
I Corinthians 6:19,3:16
"your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost... know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
The three members of the Godhead are often grouped together.
"...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
"And the angel answered and said unto her (Mary), The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy One Who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
I Corinthians 12:4-6
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are differences of administration, but the same Lord, and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God."
II Corinthians 13:14
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen."
"There is one body, one Spirit... one Lord, ... one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
"... blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God."
I Peter 3:18
"Christ also hath suffered for sins... that He might bring us to God, and being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."
There were three at the river Jordan when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus was in the water, the Spirit was sitting upon His head in the form of a dove. The voice of God uttered from heaven and said:
"...This One is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased."
One member of this Trinity is seen sitting beside Another member of the Trinity.
"...He was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God."
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God."
In Revelation 5:7, Jesus is seen walking up to the throne of God and removing a book from God's right hand. This is difficult to picture, if there is only One!