Is the Father the only true God?
In Do You Believe in Three Gods or One? it is stated:
We believe in the one true and living God because the Bible teaches it.
Jesus identifies who the "one true and living God" is in John 17:3 which states in the King James Version:
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Notice that the Father is identified as the "the only true God" which leaves Jesus out of the picture as "the only true God." If we go to John 10:31-38 (verse 36 in particular) we see Jesus defending Himself as God. If we keep to the true definition of the Greek word theos, we can see why Jesus is not "the only true God" and still God.
Theos = deity John 10:36
Theos = Supreme Being John 17:3
Theos = Your definition is NOT FOUND!!!
Nowhere is there any definition of the Greek word Theos meaning a group of individuals being collectively called god. We can also see in Scripture that this concept is not held up, but the contrary in John 20:17:
Jesus told her, "Don't hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
By your understanding of what god is, then how can a part of god do to another part of god, when Jesus states clearly that He is going to "My God." What He is doing is using the second definition of the Greek word theos or putting it another way, He is going to The Supreme Being, His Supreme Being.
When Christianity came along, it was an apostate of the Jewish religion, or as the Jews saw it. To separate themselves further from the Christians, they accepted the concept of following one god. You yourself brought up passages in the Old Testament that indicate more than one God, which they also saw. For some heavy reading on this see Alan Segal's book "Two Powers in Heaven." He starts out with the concept of good and evil, which you have to go through before he deals with the fact that the Jews did believe in two Gods, often referred to as "Two Powers in Heaven." This was understood by the New Testament Jews, which is why they didn't have any problems with passages like John 1:1, where we find two different individuals as being a God in and of themselves.
If you do any further study on this subject, you will also find that the early Church didn't believe in the Trinity as well. It wasn't in their artwork or songs until about the third century. So the definition of the Greek word theos and history doesn't support the Trinity in any way shape or form. Before you try to explain the Trinity as a fact with Scripture, you have to deal with passages that only state The Father as the Only True God and never Jesus or The Holy Spirit, like John 17:3. Jesus said it, I believe it and you should also.
"We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols" (I John 5:19-21).
John ends his letter by stating three things that we are confident about:
- The person born of God does not continue in sin. God guards him so that Satan cannot hold him in sin. This is not to say that a child of God cannot sin (I John 1:8,10), but that Satan cannot keep a child of God in sin against that child's will (James 4:7).
- The person born of God belongs to God. In contrast, the rest of the world is in the clutches of Satan. The child of God is not under the influence of Satan as is the rest of the world (Romans 6:3-7).
- The person born of God has a way to escape the world of sin and gain eternal life. Jesus came into the world to teach us so that we can know God who is the personification of truth. The child of God has confidence that he is in fellowship with the true God because we are in Jesus (Galatians 3:27). This one, John declares, is the true God and the source of eternal life.
Because of these three things, we must stay away from idols, which are not true gods.
The ending of I John bookends the beginning of the same letter.
"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life -- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us -- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. ... This is the true God and eternal life" (I John 1:1-4; 5:20).
Both the Father and the Son are the true God and the source of eternal life. This is the same message Jesus gave while on earth.
"Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was" (John 17:1-5).
Like I John 5:18-21, Jesus is not saying "the only true God" in contrast to himself but in contrast to all the idolatry that exists on earth. Notice particularly John 17:5 where Jesus calls on the Father to glorify him together with Himself. It is significant when you realize that God said:
"I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8).
"For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another" (Isaiah 48:11).
It is true that in John 10:31-38 Jesus points out that it is proper to refer to as God those representing God by applying God's teachings (from Psalms 82, see Ye Are Gods). He then claims that it should not be a point of contention for Jesus to claim to be the Son of God and united with the Father. If fact, the book of John begins, "In the beginning 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 apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men" (John 1:1-4). Jesus (the Word) was both with God and was God at the same time! Yet you claimed that there is no example of theos being used to refer to a group. Clearly what we have here is selective use of passages to create an illusion. For more evidence that Jesus is God, see Jesus Is God.
The claim that the Jews saw that there were two Gods in competition -- a good God and an evil God -- is a falsehood, unsupported by the teachings of the Old Testament. Your claim that the Jews would have no problem with John 1:1; and yet, would stone Jesus in John 10 because he stated he was the Son of God and one with the Father is in contradiction to the facts.