Some of the scriptures in the Bible talk about the true God, who is the “TRUE GOD” of the Bible? (Part one)

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Answers to Bible Questions                    

Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible

(Q)  Some of the scriptures in the Bible talk about the true God, who is the “TRUE GOD” of the Bible?

                        (This article will be broken down into five parts due to its length.)

(Part one of five)

(A)  This is a very interesting question and also one that has caused much confusion among believers and nonbelievers alike.  This article will cover a lot of material and there are no simple answers to this question, so please take your time reading, it will be worth the time you spend doing so. I will begin by quoting some of the scriptures in the Bible referring to the “true God.” 

1 John 5:20 states: 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Jeremiah 10:10 states: 10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 states: 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 11 Chronicles 15:3 states: 3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. John 17:3: states:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

One thing we do know for fact is that there is only ONE TRUE GOD. But who is this God?

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God – God used here is from the Hebrew word Elohiym. The noun Elohiym is plural but it is always used with a singular verb when it speaks of the true God. This indicates a unity and diversity within the nature of God. This unity and diversity is revealed in Scripture as the doctrine of the Trinity. In Strong’s complete Dictionary of Bible words, Elohiym # 430 means “the true God; gods; great ones.” But does this mean there is more than one God? Strong means that elohiym is plural in form. However, we should not assume in advance that it is always plural in meaning. Isaiah 45:22 say’s: 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. This scripture does not say “we are God.” Genesis 1:27 say’s: “So elohiym created man in His own image, in the image of God [elohiym] He created him; male and female He created them.” Just as they are in the rest of the chapter, the pronouns here are singular. So we see that when elohiym creates man, God reveals Himself to be but one God. In the Bible, it was elohiym who walked in the Garden, made a covenant with Abraham, wrestled with Jacob and spoke out of the burning bush. There was only one. It was elohiym who thundered from Sinai, gave victory to Joshua, sanctified the Temple and spoke to the prophets.

This God, The God Who Does Not Lie, reveals himself to be the only God there is. In Deuteronomy 32:39  the God of truth says: 39See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

In the next two verses we begin to see the diversity within the nature of God (Elohiym): Genesis 1 :26 – God said “Let us make man in our image” Genesis 3:22 says: Behold the man has become like one of us.

These two verses above are beyond our complete understanding, for God is showing us that even though He is one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit make up the ultimate nature of His being as Elohiym or God, the one true God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not separate beings. As human beings this is a mystery, we do not comprehend it, but as Christians we believe it by faith and accept it as fact.

The names “Father” and “Son” indicate a family relationship. The error creeps into the concept when the relationship is understood in terms of separate beings. The following explanation will make this easier to understand.

In a human family, a father and a son are two beings. One is the father because he existed while the son was not yet born. The father provides for the son, because the son needs his help. Human beings are limited beings. They have a beginning, they have needs, and the father-son relationship is meaningful only in light of these limitations.

It is a gross misunderstanding to think of God in such terms. God is spirit. He has no limitations in space or time. In other words, it is not true that the Son had a beginning or that the Father existed while the Son did not. Neither is it true that the Father looked after a young Son during some childhood, or provided for the Son’s “needs.” Rather, the names “Father” and “Son” reveal important truths about God.

The book of Hebrews speaks of the Son in various ways. He is referred to as a Son, as the “brightness of His glory,” and as the “express image of His person.” These are three ways of expressing the same idea. As the Son is God, he has no needs, and he is not in the same relationship to the Father that a human son is to his parent.

The names “Father” and “Son” are applied to God by analogy, without the limitations that hold true in a human family. This is another way of saying that God is not a family (for that word has meaning only in the context of limited human beings). God is infinite, eternal, and in all ways unlimited. The attempt to make elohiym reflect a family of divine beings is not only impossible historically, linguistically and culturally; it is theologically wrong and inappropriate in the discussion of the true God.

The Bible proclaims plainly and clearly that there is one and only one God. When the Bible says that God is one, the word one does not refer to a “God Family,” but to one God. Let’s look at a few passages in the Old Testament.

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other” Deuteronomy 4:35.

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” 1 Samuel 2:2.

“How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears” 2 Samuel 7:22.

“So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other” 1 Kings 8:60.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me” Isaiah 45:5.

“For this is what the Lord says — he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited — he says: `I am the Lord, and there is no other’ ” Isaiah 45:18.

“Declare what is to be, present it — let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” Isaiah 45:21-22.

“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” Isaiah 46:9.

As you can see, there is no question about the biblical fact that there is one and only one God, not two or more “Gods.” God says: “I am God, and there is no other.” He speaks in the singular, as “I,” saying that he is the only God, and there is no other being that is even like him. That’s why God commands us, “You shall have no other gods before meExodus 20:3.

So the Bible gives us two facts that are apparently contradictory. But I say apparently, because they only appear to be contradictory because our minds are finite and limited, while God, our Creator, is infinite and unlimited. The Bible tells us there is one God. The Father is God. The Son is also God John 20:28-29. He was eternally with God and also was God John 1:1-2. The Father is God and the Son is God, but there is only one God.

The Father and the Son are persons in the God being. This is part of the Christian doctrine usually called the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine does not teach three Gods, but only one. They are distinct, but not separate. There is no “family” that people can be born into. We will never be God in the same way that God is God. Rather, we are partakers of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4 — children of God, but never Gods. There can be only one God.

This is not a matter of confusion, as some say. It is a matter of believing the Bible and realizing that God is greater than our finite imaginations can perceive. It is a matter of faith, because we believe the Bible.

Is the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible?

Some people who do reject the Trinity doctrine often claim that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. Of course, there is no verse that says “God is three Persons” or “God is a Trinity.” This is all quite evident and true, strictly speaking, but it proves nothing. There are many words and phrases that Christians use, which are not found in the Bible. For example, the word “Bible” is not found in the Bible.

However, the New Testament does bring God as (Father), the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit together in such a way as to strongly imply the Trinitarian nature of God. Three Scriptures are quoted below as a summary of the many other biblical passages that bring together the three Persons of the Godhead. One Scripture is from the Gospels, another is from the apostle Paul and a third is from the apostle Peter. The words in each passage referring to each of the three Persons are italicized to emphasize their Trinitarian implication:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, 2 Corinthians 13:14.

To God’s elect. . .who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood, 1 Peter 1:1-2.

Here are three passages in Scripture, one on the lips of Jesus, and the other two from leading apostles, each bringing together the three Persons of the Godhead in an unmistakable way. But these are only a sampling of other similar passages. Among others are the following: Romans 14:17-18; 15:16; 1 Corinthians 2:2-5; 6:11; 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18-22; 3:14-19; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 1:6-8; 1Thessalonians 1:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Titus 3:4-6. The reader is encouraged to read each of these passages and note how God (Father), Son (Jesus Christ) and the (Holy Spirit) are brought together as instruments of our salvation.

The foundations of the doctrine of the Trinity are to be found in the pervasive pattern of divine activity to which the New Testament bears witness. There is the closest of connections between the Father, Son, and Spirit in the New Testament writings. Time after time, New Testament passages link together these three elements as part of a greater whole. The totality of God’s saving presence and power can only, it would seem, be expressed by involving all three elements, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We can confidently say that the Trinity, as a truth regarding God’s essential being, has always been a reality. Perhaps it was not completely clear in the dim ages of man, including even in the Old Testament. But the Incarnation of the Son of God and the coming of the Holy Spirit revealed that God was Triune. This revelation was made in concrete fact, in that the Son and the Holy Spirit broke into our world at definite points in history. The fact of the Triune revelation of God in historical time was only later described in the word of God we call the New Testament.

1+1+1=1?

The Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but there is only one God. “Wait a minute,” some people say. “One plus one plus one equals one? This can’t be right. It just doesn’t add up.”

True, it doesn’t add up—and it’s not supposed to. God isn’t a thing that can be added. There can be only one all-powerful, all-wise, everywhere-present being, so there can be only one God. In the world of spirit, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, unified in a way that material objects cannot be. Our math is based on material things; it does not always work in the infinite, spiritual realm.

The Father is God and the Son is God, but there is only one God being. This is not a family or committee of divine beings—a group cannot say, “There is none like me” Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5. God is only one divine being—more than one Person, but only one God. Just as Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is divine, it also teaches that the Holy Spirit is divine and personal. Whatever the Holy Spirit does, God does. The Holy Spirit, like the Son and the Father, is God—three Persons perfectly united in one God: the Trinity.

This is a common misconception about what the Trinity doctrine says, which actually has the opposite intent – to preserve the biblical witness to the oneness of God’s Being, yet at the same time accounting for the divinity of the Father, Son and the Spirit. The answer is that we must not confuse tritheism (meaning the doctrine that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Gods) with the Trinity or think of “persons” as we do in the human sphere when we speak of God’s divine nature. What the Trinity says is that God is one with respect to his essence but is three with respect to the internal distinctions within his Triunity.

The Father is not God as such; for God is not only Father, but also Son and Holy Spirit. The term Father designates that personal distinction in the divine nature in virtue of which God is related to the Son and, through the Son and the Spirit, to the church.

The Son is not God as such; for God is not only Son, but also Father and Holy Spirit. The Son designates that distinction in virtue of which God is related to the Father, and is sent by the Father to redeem the world, and with the Father sends the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not God as such; for God is not only Holy Spirit, but also Father and Son. The Holy Spirit designates that distinction in virtue of which God is related to the Father and the Son, and is sent by them to accomplish the work of renewing the ungodly and sanctifying the church.

When we are seeking to understand the Trinity doctrine, we need to be careful how we use and understand the word “God.” For example, whatever the New Testament says about the oneness of God, it also draws a distinction between Jesus Christ and God the Father. This is where the above formula is helpful. To be precise, we should speak of “God the Father,” “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit” when we are referring to each hypostasis or “Person” of the one God.

It is legitimate to speak about the limitations of using the word “person” when explaining the nature of God. Do we really understand how God can be one in Being and three in Person? We have no experiential knowledge of God as he is. Not only is our experience limited, but so is our language. Using the word “Persons” for each of the three hypostases of God is in some ways a compromise. That’s true. But, when speaking to God’s nature, we need a word that emphasizes his personalness in relationship to us human creatures and within himself, and yet, that carries with it the concept of distinctiveness. “Person” just happens to be the most appropriate word we have in the English language to do this.

Unfortunately, the word “person” also contains the notion of separateness when used of human persons. How can we deal with this? The thing to understand is that God does not consist of the kind of persons that a group of human beings do. But, then, what is a “God-kind” of person? We can say that human persons are separate from each other and have separate wills because they only have external relations with each other, while the Persons of God have internal relations and share the same essence.

The Trinity doctrine uses the word “Person” for each hypostasis of God because it is a personal word, and above all, God is a personal being in his dealings with us. Only a personal being can love, and love is the defining essence of God, according to the biblical witness 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; 15:9-10.

The word “persons” distinguishes between the three Persons of God and the one Being of God in the sense that the three Persons constitute his one Being. Thus, the doctrine preserves both the biblical revelation that there is but one God and no other, as well as its testimony that the Father, the Son and the Spirit are all equally divine and true God of true God.

Those who reject the Trinitarian explanation of God’s nature are in a quandary. If one rejects the theology of the Trinity, he or she has no explanation that preserves two witnesses to God’s Being: God is One Being and also he is Triune in his Being.

That is why Christians formulated the doctrine in precise technical language – so that we could rightly speak of God, according to the witness he has left us of himself through Christ and in the Spirit, as attested to by the New Testament. The Church confesses the biblical testimony that God is one divine Being. But Christians also confess that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are divine, true God of true God, according to the New Testament.

The Trinity doctrine was developed precisely with the intent of explaining, as well as human words and thought would allow, the reality that God has existed from eternity both as One Being and yet as three Persons. The Trinity doctrine says that God is one and that in his oneness he is Triune.

Explanations of the nature of God other than the Trinity have been put forth throughout the history of the Church. Arianism is one example. This theory claimed that the Son was a created being. The Arians thought they had preserved the oneness of God in their explanation, but created a heresy that did not rightly speak of God’s nature. The Arian conclusion was fundamentally flawed in that if the Son was a created being, he would not be divine, of the same essence of God, and therefore, could not be our Savior. For it is only God who can save us in new creation, in his Incarnate life, death and resurrection. All other theories advanced to explain God’s nature in terms of the revelation of the Son and Holy Spirit have proved equally unfaithful to the gospel and the nature of God.

The Trinitarian explanation takes into consideration the divinity of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit and the biblical truth that there is only one God. That’s why the doctrine of the Trinity has survived for centuries as the explanation of God’s nature that preserves the truth of the biblical witness of who God is – and that he has saved us in himself through the Son and in the Spirit.

                                                    End of part one——Part two coming soon

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