Skip to comments.How Is God One?
Posted on 02/07/2006 10:41:24 AM PST by DouglasKC
"Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4).
The Bible makes it abundantly clear there is only one God. Jesus quotes Moses in saying, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Mark 12:29; compare Deuteronomy 6:4). Paul tells us that "there is no God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4) and that "there is one God" (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Bible also tells us that all other supposed gods are idols figments of man's own imagination gone awry. Throughout history man has created many false gods. It is with this contrast in mind that we should approach Deuteronomy 6:4"the LORD is one."
Many do not fully comprehend how the Bible uses numbers. This factor contributes to considerable confusion about God.
How should we understand the oneness of God? As well as the usual straightforward use of numbering, the concept of complete unity is associated with the Hebrew word translated "one" in Deuteronomy 6:4.
Two become one
Let's go to the first book of the Bible, Genesis. There, after the creation of Adam and Eve, we see the institution of the marriage relationship: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). A couple becomes "one flesh" in a marital sexual union. But there is another important metaphorical meaning as well. Though two separate and distinct beings, in this context, the two become one.
Some 4,000 years later Jesus repeated this concept when He said, regarding marriage, that "the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:8-9). In marriage the two become one when joined in sexual union. But they still remain two separate individuals, still one male and one femalejoined together in marriage as one family unit.
Of course, this oneness is not complete or total. Yet in a physical sense that complete oneness is reached at the moment of conception. As one science book put it: "Human life begins in . . . cooperation of the most intimate sort. The two cells wholly merge. They combine their genetic material. Two very different beings become one. The act of making a human being involves . . . cooperation so perfect that the partners' separate identities vanish" (Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1992, p. 199).
Even the separate DNA substances of two distinct human beings combine at conception to form a new, unique human being, one different from all other persons.
How wonderful are the things of God! How sublime are His purposes for the human family. Understanding marriage and the family helps us grasp aspects of the Kingdom of God.
One Church but many members
Continuing with our study of the biblical use of numbers, Paul wrote that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). There is one Church, said Paul, but composed of many individual members possessing various spiritual gifts and talents.
He further explained to the Corinthian brethren: "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but the same God who works all in all" (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
Paul spent considerable effort to get this simple point across. He continues in verse 12: "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." Here Paul compares the Church to the human body.
Next he reminds us in principle of what he had previously written in Galatians 3:28 (Galatians was written before 1 Corinthians). "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freeand have all been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The Church is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:2223). So that we fully understand, Paul then repeats Himself by continuing in 1 Corinthians 12 to compare the Church to the human body, which likewise has many members performing different functions: "For in fact the [human] body is not one member, but many . . . But now indeed there are many members, yet one body" (verses 14, 20).
Finally, in verse 27, he makes this basic point yet again: "Now you are the [one] body of Christ and individually [different] members of it" (verse 27, NRSV). In that sense the divine family is similar: one God and only one God, yet two individual glorified family members now constituting that one Godplus many more potential members among mankind (Romans 8:29).
Paul also wrote in another context, "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name" (Ephesians 3:14-15, NIV). Although there is only one family, there are many members, called the "firstfruits" (James 1:18). Truly converted Christians, led by God's Spirit, are already counted as members of the family (Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1-2), even though they have not yet received glorification and immortality in the resurrection to eternal life, which will take place at Christ's return (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Elsewhere Paul tells us that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50). We must be changed at the time of the resurrection (verses 51-54; Philippians 3:20-21). God will accomplish that in due courseprovided we have overcome and developed righteous, godly character (Revelation 2:26; 3:21; 21:7-8).
One Church, one God
In John 17 Jesus prayed to the Father, "And this is eternal life, that they [Christ's disciples] may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (verse 3). There is only one God, yet Jesus Christ is a separate Persondistinct from the Father, but at one and in union with Him.
Then, in the course of this incredible prayer spoken shortly before His crucifixion, Christ said, "Holy Father, protect them [Jesus' followers] in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one" (verse 11, NRSV). Earlier He had said, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30).
You need to grasp this enormously important point. The Church is to be one just as God the Father and Jesus Christ are one. That's quite a tall order! The various members should be unified with each other just as Christ and the Father are in perfect union. Although we have to realistically admit that this has rarely been the case in church history, God expects us to strive for that spiritual unity.
The members of the true Church of God are all to be joined together by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:13)living by that Spirit. It is every individual's responsibility to seek out the organized fellowship that best represents the biblical model of the New Testament Church. (For further understanding, please request our free booklet The Church Jesus Built.)
We see, then, that the Father and Jesus Christ are one in the same sense that Jesus prayed for the Church to be oneone in purpose, belief, direction, faith, spirit and attitudejoined together by the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel of John gives us additional insight into this wonderful truth. Jesus said to the Father during His prayer: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which you gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one . . ." (John 17:20-23).
This spiritual oneness, this unity between and among brethren, can be accomplished only through God's Spirit working in all truly converted Christians. Their unity through the Holy Spirit should reflect the perfect unitythe onenessof God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.
Another biblical example of oneness
Christ tells us we are to live "by every word of God" (Luke 4:4). Before any of the books of the New Testament were written, the Hebrew Scriptureswhat we call the Old Testamentwere the only recorded "word of God" available. Often they can clear our foggy vision and help us understand the spiritual intent of the New Testament. After all, we should understand that all the books of the Bible are the revealed Word of God, and all increase our understanding (2 Timothy 3:16).
Consider a seldom-read passage back in the book of Judges that illustrates how oneness can mean unity. "So all the children of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, as well as from the land of Gilead, and the congregation gathered together as one man before the LORD at Mizpeh" (Judges 20:1).
For once, the entire nation of Israel was wholly unified in purpose to meet a serious problem affecting the whole country. The expression "as one man" is used to convey that the nation was fully united at that particular time.
Verses 8 and 11 tell us, "Then all the people arose as one man . . . So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united together as one man." Of course, they still remained many individual citizens of the same nation. Here again the Bible itself sheds light on the meaning of oneness.
Comprehending God's oneness
Paul explains that "there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live" (1 Corinthians 8:6). Scripture reveals two separate, distinct persons, both spirit, yet one in unity, belief, direction and purposemembers of the same divine family. "I and My Father are one," said Jesus (John 10:30).
When we understand what the Bible teaches, we see that there is only one God, just as there is only one human raceone extended family descended from Adam of presently about six billion individuals. Just the same, the one divine familythe family of Godis open to an unlimited number of members.
Each normal human family is a microcosm of that one great divine family (compare Romans 1:20). If we comprehend this marvelous, wondrous biblical principle, we should be reflecting our ultimate destiny in our marriages, families and everyday lives. We should strive to reflect the love and unity of the divine familyGod the Father and His Son Jesusin our family relationships.
How could someone prove a false god?
Do you mean prove that a particular god is false? Or is it a rhetorical question?
A particular god.
If you're looking for my opinion then I'm going to answer with a distinct bias toward Christianity. :-)
I honestly don't think you can really "prove" it to someone who doesn't believe in the real God.
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Only the father can dispel the delusion. Now it's possible that someone could be a work in progress, that God could be working with someone, to let them see the truth of the scriptures. In that case giving the evidence of scripture should be sufficient. At that point it becomes a matter of freewill...are they going to go with what God is presenting to them, or are they going to succumb to the ways of the world again?
Hope it helps....
Well, as you might guess I have a different take on those verses.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Col 2:14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:13 begins the thought of 2:14. Paul is speaking to Christian gentiles. It's important to understand this. Note in 13 that he says they are "dead" in their sins AND the uncircumcision of their flesh. All jews were circumicised routinely at 8 days old. That includes Christian Jews. Therefore, the "uncircumcised" are gentile converts to Christianity.
Three things occur in these verses:
1. Trespasses forgiven.
2. A "handwriting of ordinances" against them was blotted out.
3. This "handwriting of ordinances" that was against them was nailed to the cross
The word translated "handwriting" is:
1) a handwriting, what one has written by his own hand
2) a note of hand or writing in which one acknowledges that money has either been deposited with him or lent to him by another, to be returned at the appointed time.
The sense of the word is that of an iou, a debt to be paid. The debt to be paid for sin is:
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The word translated "ordinances" (dogma) is closer to "decree". It's translated "decree" in 3 verses. It can, but doesn't have to mean a decree of God. For example:
Act 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
"Decree" (dogma) is the same word.
In other words, the penalty decreed for sin is death. The decree, the death penalty, was nailed to the cross with Christ. The Message Bible puts it:
Col 2:14 the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's Cross.
Okay. So now we come to the next verses:
Col 2:16 Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths,
Col 2:17 which are a shadow of coming things, but the body is of Christ.
This is from Green's Literal Translation. Now there are a couple of things to note. First, "meat and drink" is literally "eating and drinking". And what is rendered "substance" in some translations is literally "body"...or the phrase "body of Christ".
Also, "is" is in italics because it isn't in the greek. It's added by translators to make their translation make more sense.
One more note: There is no punctuation in the greek. Punctuation is not inspired by God. There are no verse numbers in greek. There are no chapter numbers in greek? So what does the verse look like with punctuation altered a little and read literally?
"Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths (which are a shadow of coming things) but the body of Christ."
In other words, Paul is saying that nobody should judge the gentiles for HOW they were celebrating the holy days, except for the body of Christ. The body of Christ, fellow church members, should judge how they're eating and drinking and celebrating THE holy days and sabbaths.
The key point is that the gentiles WERE celebrating the sabbaths and holy days. There were some NOT OF the body of Christ that criticized them. These "others" had odd beliefs:
Col 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.
The "others" worshipped angels and delighted in "self-abasement".
The things they were advocating was NOT according to God's word in scripture.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
The only scripture Paul had was the "old testament". There was no "new" testament. Of the "old" testament, Paul says:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Now if Paul were making the case that the sabbaths and holy days were "man made" traditions and ordinances then Paul was either a liar or an idiot because clearly they were given by God.
If God isn't One, why adhere to any one over any other?
I'm not sure I understand your question in context of the article?
That's always the clincher. Good post, Douglas.
I believe in one God, creator of everything, but I am not a Christian. How would you prove that a god was false?
If you're asking how I would prove that you are worshipping a false god then I won't do that. In that case, I would say that you have an incomplete understanding of God.
But if you're not a Christian, I'll never be able to prove it to you. One of the jobs of a Christian is to share the gospel, the good news of the kingdom, the role of Jesus Christ, and your future in it. It's up to God to open up your understanding to the truth and then it's up to you to prove it for yourself and hold on to it.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures,
If I were a Christian, then I doubt the question would even be asked. Too bad, there is no way all people will believe the same. I suppose if God does have a plan for all of us, this must be the way He wants it.
That is certainly true in this age. In fact the bible indicates that nearly the whole world will be under the influence of a Satanic, counterfeit religion. Only after Christ returns will the world finally know the truth.
I suppose if God does have a plan for all of us, this must be the way He wants it.
It's not the way he wants it. But he knows it's the nature of rebellion.
If God is truly all-powerful, and He created everything, then how can things not be the way He made them?
I'm too lazy to post tonight. Just go to this web site.
Free will. God created the angels. Lucifer led a rebellion of the angels.
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Man likewise has freewill.
Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deu 30:20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Adam and Eve demonstrated it in the garden. Men and women choose a human way of life over a Godly way of life every day.
The bad news is that we will never choose God without his calling. The good news, the gospel, is that he will call everyone eventually to enter his kingdom. Christ will return and there will be a government of God upon the earth and into eternity. This was the main theme of what Jesus Christ preached:
Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
This of course is a simplification of the truth's taught in scripture. Hope it helps.
Thanks for the link. I agree with nearly everything on the page.
Doesn't God know what our free-will choices will be?
God only knows. :-)
My assumption is that he does know, but let's us make them anyways. Or he could purposely decline to involve himself with each and every one of our choices and only involve himself when needed to complete his overall plan of salvation.