God one being
and only one being, which is a basic belief in Judaism. Is this
what the Bible says? Is God one distinct individual with three
modes or forms of being or a trinity as is a basic belief in many
churches? Or is God a family consisting of two individuals who are
What does the Word
of God, the Christian Bible, mean when it says “God is one”? In
this article we are going to take a brief
look at what the bible reveals to us regarding the oneness of God.
different concepts of who and what God is revolve around the scripture
Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”
Deuteronomy 6:4 has two
parts: which is translated in the King James Version to
1. The first is a
command to hear, that is to absorb or listen with the intellect to what
2. The second part tells what is to be heard and
To properly understand the term “God is one LORD”, we need
to know what Moses actually intended to convey when he wrote
The second part of Deuteronomy 6:4 is a Hebrew verbless clause and has
been translated four different ways:
LORD our God, the LORD is one; (NIV) (1)
The LORD our God is one LORD;
The LORD is our God, the LORD is
one; (NASB) (3)
The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.
Which translation conveys what God told Israel
1996 article by Carl D. Franklin entitled “The Two Jehovah’s of the
states “As the foremost authority in the interpretation
of verbless clauses, Francis Andersen
(5) comes to the conclusion that there exists an implied question in
Deuteronomy 6:4, based on the
first commandment: "You shall not have other gods [Elohim] besides
Me" (Ex. 20:3). The implied
question is: If we shall have no other gods (Elohim) besides You, Who
our God (Elohim)? Deuteronomy 6:4 answers this
implied question with the proper construction: "Our one God (Elohim) is
Yhwh (Jehovah Jehovah)." The
meaning of Deuteronomy 6:4 is then completed
with the only conclusion we can properly draw: He (Jehovah) is our only
(Elohim). Thus we have come full circle
back to the original commandment, "You shall not have other gods
besides Me." In other words, the
Hebrew text is emphatically stating that Israel's only God is YHWH
the article above, we see that Deuteronomy 6:4 when
properly understood, is not telling us that God is a single being but
that “The LORD is our God, the LORD alone”(6). All others are
Deuteronomy says that the God of Israel is the only God to be
does the Hebrew word for God in Deuteronomy 6:4 mean?
Hebrew word for God in Deuteronomy 6:4 is Elohim.
Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary says Elohim “is a
uniplural word meaning gods in the ordinary sense; but
specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of
Hebrew word Elohim can mean one God or it can mean more than one God.
What did the original Church of God
believe? A. E. J. Rawlinson, an Anglican
Bishop and scholar wrote, “trinitarianism
had to fight its way and make good its footing against a strong
within and without the church, towards belief in a Godhead of two
persons only”. (Essays on the trinity and the incarnation).
Rawlinson’s statement that the original Christian Church
had a “strong tendency towards belief in Godhead
of two persons only” implies the early Church of God
believed in a Godhead of two persons.
What does the Bible say?
The Apostle John (John
1: 1-14), stated this belief or concept clearly when he wrote:
thebeginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God. He was in the
beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and
not even one thing was made that was created came
into being without Him. In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men. And
the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend
it. There was a man sent by God, whose name was He came for
a witness, that he
might testify concerning the Light, so that through him all might
believe. He was not the Light, but came that he
might testify concerning the Light. The
true Light was that which enlightens everyone who comes into the
He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, but the
world did not
know Him. He came to His own, and His
own did not receive Him. But as many as
received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God,
to those who believe in His name: who were not begotten by bloodlines,
nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by the will
of God. And the
Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, (and we ourselves beheld
glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full
of grace and truth.”
John clearly stated that the Godhead is composed of God and
The Apostle John made it clear that Jesus (the Word) was both with God
and was God.
When the Apostle
Paul stated that Jesus had existed in the form of God he also made it
that Jesus was God and that He gave up being God to become a man.
2:5-11 (ANET) (6)
Let this mind be in you, which was
also in Christ Jesus; who, He existed in the
form of God, did not consider it robbery to
be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and
was made in the likeness of men and
took the form of a servant. And being
found in the manner of men, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto
death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has also
Him and bestowed upon Him a name which is
above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
beings in heaven, and of those on earth,
and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that
is Lord, to the glory of God
Paul also wrote
that the One who gave Israel water in the wilderness was the One who
later became Christ or the Messiah.
Corinthians 10:1-4 (ANET) Now I do not wish you to be ignorant of this,
brethren, that our fathers were
all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized
Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and they
all ate the same spiritual meat, and they
all drank of the same spiritual drink;
for they drank from the spiritual
Rock that followed them. And that Rock was Christ.
also confirmed that the Godhead is composed of two individuals when he
same Greek word “Kurios” to describe each “LORD” in Matthew 22:44
(7) “The LORD (Greek “Kurios”) said to
my Lord (Greek “Kurios”), “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your
Luke also confirmed the Godhead being
composed of two beings when he used the same Greek word to describe
in Luke 20:42 (NKJV) “Now David
himself said in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord (Greek “Kurios”) said to
my Lord (Greek
“Kurios”), Sit at My right hand,” And again in Acts 2:34NKJV) “For
did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The
Lord (Greek “Kurios”) said to my
Lord” (Greek “Kurios”)
The Greek word “Kurios” is No. G2962 in Strong’s Hebrew and
Chaldee Dictionary and is said to mean “supreme in authority”.
both the Father and the Son are referred to by the use of the same
meaning “supreme in authority”, this is a clear reference to
a Godhead of two equal beings.
translators for both the King James and the New King James translations
case letters for the second occurrence of the word LORD in Matthew
(KJV) “The LORD said unto my Lord” making it read as though the second
LORD is a lesser personage than the first LORD even though the same
is used for both “Lords”.
Jesus Christ showed us what faith is
when He put His full and complete trust in His fellow God or “Partner”
became subject to death, fully trusting His “Partner” to return Him to
state! He opened the way for us to
become His “brothers and sisters” in the God family!
Jesus could be both man and God is a great mystery to
us as Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:16 (ANET):
undeniably great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the
flesh, was justified in the Spirit, seen
by angels, was proclaimed among the Gentiles, was believed on in world,
was received up in glory.” the
The member of the God family who
became the Father did so when Mary was impregnated by the Holy
As far as we can know, he was not a Father
before that time, nor has been since.
But He was definitely the Father of the Man Jesus Christ!
1:35 (ANET), “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit
shall come upon you, and the power of
the Highest shall overshadow you; and
for this reason, the Holy One begotten in you shall be called the Son
Jesus became the only begotten of the
Father when He, Jesus, was formed in Mary’s womb! The Angels
reference to Jesus as the “Holy One” to be born”, was a statement
that Jesus was and is God.
Jesus was the Son of God because God was
His Father and He was the Son of Man because he was born of a
Jesus was wholly man through his human birth
and was wholly God through the Spirit or Mind of God being given to Him
3:34 (ANET) “For
He whom God has sent speaks the words of God: and God gives not the
measure unto Him.” The
translators added the words “unto Him” in this verse as they realized
John the Baptist was speaking of Jesus when he made this statement.
When God spoke to Moses through a
burning bush, He told Moses His name was
Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and
shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they
say to me, What is his name? What
shall I say to them? And God said unto
Moses, I AM THAT I AM. And he said, “Thus you shall say to the
children of Israel, I
AM has sent me to you. And
God said to Moses again, You shall say this to the children of Israel,”
LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
Jacob, has sent me unto you. This is
my name for ever, and this is my title from generation to generation.”
When Jesus spoke to a group of
Pharisees, He made a very definite statement which they understood and
stone Him for saying it.
said it first in John 8:24, (ANET) That is why I said to you that you
in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in
again in John 8:28 (ANET) Then Jesus said to them, “When you have
up the Son of Man, then you yourselves shall know that I AM, and that I
do nothing of Myself. But as the Father taught Me, these things I
again in John 8:57-59 (ANET) Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not
even fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to
them, “Truly, truly, I say to
you, before Abraham was born,.I
AM” Then they picked up stones to
throw at Him;
but Jesus concealed Himself and went out of the temple, passing through
midst of them, and in this manner departed.
When Jesus answered with the statement
I AM, he declared that He was the
God who appeared to Moses and the Jews
understood what Jesus said as is demonstrated in their having picked up
to stone Him!
stated this again in John 13:19 (ANET) I am telling you at this time,
happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I AM.
again in John 18:5-8 when he confronted the soldiers in the garden.
18:5-8 (ANET) They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarean.” Jesus said
to them, “I AM.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, was also standing
with them. But when He said to them, “I AM,” they went backward
fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you
seeking?” And they said, “Jesus the
Nazarean.” Jesus answered, “I told you
that I AM. Therefore, if you are seeking Me, allow these to
go their way,”
Apostle John made it very clear that after Christ’s resurrection He,
Christ, was returned to the state of glory He had given up to become a
17:5 (ANET) “And now, Father, glorify Me with Your own
self, with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”
How is God one?
John recorded Jesus addressing
the question of God being one when he wrote in John 17:20-22 (ANET) I
do not pray for these only, but also for
those who shall believe in Me through their word; that they all may be
as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in
Us, in order that the world may believe that You did send Me. And I
them the glory that You gave to Me, in
order that they may be one in the same way that
We are one:
said that He and the
Father are one in unity!
This has been a brief look at what the
scriptures reveal regarding the oneness of God.
We’ve seen that the Lord our God is the one and only true God and is
in unity, a family consisting of Father and Son.
God is a family and all truly
repentant individuals have been promised the wonderful blessing of
part of that family as stated by John in John 1:12 (ANET): “But as many
as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of
even to those who believe in His name:”
children of God we have the
opportunity of becoming part of the God Family.
let anyone tell you differently!
stands for New International Version.
stands for New Living Translation
stands for New American Standard Bible.
stands for New Living Translation.
(5) Francis I. Andersen taught the
Bible in Australia, the United States, and around the world before
as Professorial Fellow in the Department of Classics and Archaeology at
University of Melbourne, Australia. Out
of his pioneering work on the poetics and metrics of biblical texts, he
produced over seventy scholarly articles and many books. He lives with
wife, Lois, in Donvale, Victoria, Australia.
stands for “A New English
Translation” and is available at cbcg.org.
(7) (NKJV) stands for New King James Version.