by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Deuteronomy 6
I. In the world there are many views divinity.
A. We can broadly categorize them as:
a. Many gods, each independent. They interact with each other, sometimes cooperatively and sometimes in opposition to each other.
b. Hinduism is a modern day polytheistic religion
a. There is a single god who might present himself in a variety of ways to mankind
b. He interacts with his creation, but since he is one, he does not interact with himself.
c. Modern-day Judaism and Islam are both monotheistic religions
d. Some denominations, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Oneness Pentecostals, hold to a view of a numerically single God.
a. Says there is a single God composed of three agents.
b. The agents in this composite unit always act cooperatively.
c. The agents are distinct, but the unity between them is so strong that at times it is difficult to tell which agent is acting
B. There are also people who say that all religions worship the same one god, but they just have different names and ideas about this god.
1. Thus the claim that the Jewish God, the Christian God, the Muslim God, and even the Hindu gods are all just people worshiping the same God.
II. Numerically One or Functioning as One
A. There are nine different Hebrew words which can be translated as “one.”
B. Only one word refers to completely solitary or absolutely alone: yachiyd
1. Genesis 22:2 - Isaac was Abraham’s only son
2. Judges 11:34 - Jephthah had only one daughter
3. Psalms 68:6 - God gives families to the solitary
4. This word is never applied to God
C. Another word, echad, denotes oneness in the sense of unity, a group acting as one.
1. It can sometimes refer to one of a group, such as in Genesis 2:21
2. Usually it is multiple acting as one, such as in Genesis 2:24
3. Becoming part of a group - Genesis 3:22
4. The world population acting as one - Genesis 11:6
5. Uniting families - Genesis 34:16
6. Single purpose - II Chronicles 30:12
7. One assemble made of thousands - Ezra 2:64
8. This is the word applied to God - Deuteronomy 6:4
a. A multiple which constitutes one God
D. Disciples to be one as God and Christ are one - John 17:22
1. If God and Christ are numerically one, then all disciples are numerically one.
III. Singular or Plural?
A. Those who deny the idea of trinity avoid referring to God using plural pronouns. They stick to only passages with singular pronouns, such as in Deuteronomy 32:39
B. But the Bible uses both - Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8
1. Some say that God was talking to angels, but man wasn’t create by angels or created in the form of angels.
C. The word for God is elohiym. When used to refer to other gods, it is always written in the plural - Genesis 31:30; Exodus 12:12; Joshua 24:16
1. Only when applied to our God do we drop the final “s” though it is the same word in the Hebrew.
D. Multiple called God
1. There are passages where two are both called God
a. God’s God - Psalm 45:6-7 - referred to in Hebrews 1:8-9
b. Three mentioned - Isaiah 48:12-17 (especially verse 16)
c. God will save Israel by their God - Hosea 1:6-7
2. Each is called God
a. John 6:27 - The Father
b. Colossians 2:8-9 - The Son
c. Acts 5:3-4 - The Spirit
IV. The difficulties that come for claiming God is a singular being
A. How did the disciples see Jesus, but no one has seen the Father if Jesus and the Father are the same? - John 1:18
B. The Pharisees accused Jesus of lying - John 8:13
1. Earlier Jesus had stated that a single witness doesn’t establish truth - John 5:31
2. Jesus points out that his testimony is still true, but that he has more than one witness - John 8:14-18
3. This could not be true if Jesus and the Father are one.
C. How can the Father send another helper if they are all the same single being? - John 14:16
D. How can the vine and the vinedresser be the same - John 15:1, 8-10, 26
E. How does Jesus pray that the Father receive his spirit if there is only one? - Luke 23:46
F. These are only a small sample. The number of difficulties are huge.
V. It isn’t hard to understand
A. We understand that a man and woman become one flesh without turning into a single individual - Genesis 2:24
B. We understand that Christians are to be one without a reduction in number
C. Unlike the pagan world, the God who freed Israel, is not a myriad of competing and conflicting deities. The true God is one - Deuteronomy 6:4
D. They could not follow any other god and follow the One - Deuteronomy 6:14