ARGUMENTS PERTAINING TO THE GODHEAD
April 1, 1987 Issue
Billy D. Dickinson
The scriptures plainly teach that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead: God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. By the term "distinct", it is meant that they are recognizably not the same person; yet, each of them are referred to as God in the scriptures. In Heb 1:8, we find the Father referring to the Son as God. Also, in Acts 5:3-5, the Holy Spirit is referred to as God. Therefore, the conclusion is warranted that the Godhead consists of three distinct persons. In Rom 1:20, the word translated "Godhead" means "divinity, divine nature" (THAYER'S LEXICON, page 285). There is one divine nature-- hence, one God-- but there are three distinct persons who possess the divine nature!
There are those, of course, who believe and teach that there is only one person in the Godhead. They contend that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are simply manifestations of God. Through the years, they have advanced arguments and cited passages of Scripture for the purpose of negating what the Bible teaches on this great subject, as they have sought to push their untenable views on souls of a different persuasion. It will be the purpose of this article to answer some of those arguments and demonstrate how they have often wrested the scriptures to their own destruction.
ARGUMENTENT #1: In Col 2:9, it is said that Jesus "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"; hence , there is only one person in the Godhead.
ANSWER: Obviously, some do not understand the meaning of this great passage. The term "Godhead" in Col 2:9 means "deity, the state of being God" (THAYER, page 288). Paul is simply affirming that Jesus was deity in the flesh because He possessed all the divine and essential qualities that make God, God! This is what he was discussing-- "the state of being God." John affirmed that this was the case in John 1:1-3, where it is said that He "was God", but He was also "WITH God", all at the same time! Vine says that "fulness" in Col 2:9 denotes "the completeness of his being" (VINES EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF N.T. WORDS, page 477). In other words, Paul is saying that Jesus was deity, in every sense of that term, in bodily form. Furthermore, the passage does not say that God dwelt bodily in Jesus, but rather it says that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him.
ARGUMENT #2: Jesus said in John 17:21 that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him.
ANSWER: This passage in its entirety reads: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me". First, Jesus was not praying for His disciples to be one person. Second, not only did Jesus say He was in the Father and the Father was in Him, but He also said we are to be one in them. Does this mean we are one person with them in the Godhead? Obviously, this has reference to the fellowship and spiritual union that exists between the Father and the Son, as well as our fellowship with them.
ARGUMENT #3: Jesus said in John 10:30, "I and my Father are one".
ANSWER: Yes, but He didn't say they were one person! John 17:22 explains how they are one: "That they may be one, even as we are one". "Even as" means in the same way. How are Christ and the Father one? "Even as", or in the same manner, He expects His disciples to be. Not one in person, but one in purpose, will, and desire.
ARGUMENT #4: Since you teach that the second person of the Godhead prayed to the first person, this means you have God praying to God. Why would a God need to pray?
ANSWER: Jesus was God manifested in the flesh (I Tim 3:16). He was the God-man. Phil 2:8 says, "And being found in fashion as a man...". Therefore, as a man, Jesus often felt the need to pray to His Father. But lets look at their position. If there is only one person in the Godhead, does this mean that Jesus was praying to Himself? Was it merely the case that one manifestation was praying unto another manifestation? (Remember, they say the flesh was praying unto the spirit.) Such arguments as these cant negate plain statements of Holy Writ.
ARGUMENT #5: John 2:19-21 says Jesus raised Himself from the dead, while Rom 6:4 says the Father did. Also, Rev 1:8 says Jesus is first and last, while Rev 21:6-7 says God did.
ANSWER: Just because Jesus is said to be something the Father is, or because one is said to do what the other does, does not prove them to be the same person. It simply shows that they work in unison and that both possess the divine nature! This kind of reasoning proves nothing. For example, consider this: I Tim 4:10 says God saves us; Lk 19:10 says Jesus saves us; Acts 2:40 says we save ourselves. Does this prove we are both Christ and God? Also, Eph 2:8 says we are saved by grace, Rom 8:24 says we are saved by hope, Acts 16:31 says we are saved through believing, and I Pet 3:21 says we are saved by baptism. According to the way some argue pertaining to the Godhead, this proves that grace, hope, faith, and baptism are all the same thing. If not, why not?
ARGUMENT #6: In Col 1:15, Jesus is said to be "the image of the visible God."
ANSWER: This is a passage they should never bring up because it actually disproves their doctrine! Notice that in this passage TWO PERSONS are under consideration. First, there is God, who is invisible to our eyes because He is Spirit (John 4:24); then, there is Jesus who is the image of God. This word denotes "an image, figure, likeness" (THAYER, page 175). Jesus is a true figure of God "on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence" (so says Thayer). He is a likeness of the invisible God. Who is? The one by whom "were all things created" (Col 1:16).
ARGUMENT #7: Since Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost, which person in the Godhead was the Father of Jesus? God the Father, or God the Holy Ghost?
ANSWER: This is one of their favorite questions. First of all, let it be remembered that according to their position, Jesus was His own Father and His own Son at the same time! Let them chew on that for awhile. Secondly, keep in mind that we are dealing with deity and we must not look at this from a sexual or carnal standpoint, as the question implies. (If so, does this mean that Jesus was guilty of incest with His own mother per their position?) The Holy Spirit was merely the agency through which Jesus was born of a virgin. Jesus was brought into this world without an earthly father and the Holy Spirit was the agency through which this miracle was performed. Also, these people need to realize that the Father and the Holy Spirit are not in competition. Personally, I feel this question borders on the type of questions spoken on in II Tim 2:33-- "foolish and unlearned question".
ARGUMENT #8: There is only one Father, Matt 23:9, and Jesus said in John 14:9, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
ANSWER: Yes, there is certainly only one Father; also, Jesus was a true representative of His Father. When they saw Jesus in His attributes and godly characteristics, they had a correct picture of what His Father was like. If you saw one identical twin, for instance, you would know what the other one looks like, because you would be seeing an exact copy, so to speak. You could say, "Because I've seen one, I've seen the other." Likewise, Jesus was a true and exact representation of His Father. In this sense He could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father".
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