God has given us the Bible in order that we might get to know Him better and understand His will and purpose. In both the Old and New Testament the unity of God is emphasised time and time again:
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 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)
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. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
It is important to note that in both New Testament verses
the position of Jesus is never shown as being equal to God. The first and
greatest commandment, says Jesus in Mark, is that "God is one Lord."
In 1st Corinthians, the Apostle Paul clearly separates God and Jesus, "one
God, the Father", and "one Lord Jesus Christ." So why do some
say that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one God and yet three, who
exist co-equal and co-eternal in a Godhead?
This idea is based partly on the Athanasian Creed adopted
by many churches in the 3rd Century AD. However, its basis in scripture is
flawed. Here is what the Bible really says about God, Jesus and the Holy
Spirit. In Ephesians 4 we find again that there is:
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all..." (Ephesians 4:5,6)
If God is above all, Christ cannot be equal with him. Jesus
Christ is also described as the "Son of God"; nowhere in the Bible
is he called God the Son. So what is the difference? God gave king David
of Israel a special promise:
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
Here God declares His purpose to David, that through his royal
line a son will be born. God says, "I will be his father, and he
shall be my son." Notice that this son did not already exist. "He shall
be my son" indicates clearly that Jesus has not co-existed eternally with
God since the beginning of time. There is no doubt that this promise of a
seed was fulfilled.
When we begin reading the first chapter of Matthew's gospel,
it tells us that it is "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the
son of David." But in this very same chapter Jesus is also named Emmanuel
- God with us. Did Jesus come down from heaven as God? No.
Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit power of God which descended upon
her. Jesus was born of a woman and inherited her mortality and sinful
Christ was flesh and bone but was not quite like us, for he did
not succumb to the temptations of sin. However, he still suffered and died on
the hill of Calvary. Can part of God die? No. Did God just pretend to die?
No. God cannot lie so Christ's suffering and death would
be a sham if he were truly God. Psalm 89 also foretells God's purpose through
king David and Christ and shows just how reliant Jesus was on his heavenly
I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (Psalm 89:20-29)
How could Jesus, if he were God, call out just prior to his
death "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He would be talking
to himself! Surely he could have saved himself; even some who passed him
by suggested that as the Son of God he should be able to do this. The answer
of course is that he had already placed himself under his heavenly Father's
will in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
God's will and purpose were fulfilled through His Son the
Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died for the sins of the world. Is Jesus God? No. He is the Son of his
Father, the express image of God himself (God with us). He showed in every
way just what God is like by the perfect way he lived his life and, because of
this, he has been elevated to God's right hand in heaven:
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?
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:1-9)
When Christ began his mission an directly after his baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon him as a dove. The Apostle Peter remembers and describes the blessings that came upon Christ:
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10: 38)
If we take the Trinitarian view of this verse, then Peter
says that, God anointed God with God. This surely cannot be correct,
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not three beings of a Godhead co-equal
and co-eternal. There is only one God, his son the Lord Jesus Christ who
now lives eternally, and the Spirit power of God. The Spirit performs God's
will and purpose through men, angels and whatever means God desires in order
to bring His plan for mankind on the earth to fruition.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9)
In this article we've tried to show what the Bible says about this topic - please apply for our Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Course so that you can do this for yourself with other topics.