The concept of oneness means that you believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and the same. In other words, “Father” is just another name for “Son,” and “Son” is just another name for “Holy Spirit.” But is it true? If you are an honest seeker of the truth, this article will show you the truth — and, as Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (see John 8:31-32).
Oneness is to be contrasted (or compared) with Trinitarianism. Trinitarians are people who believe in the Trinity. The word “Trinity” means “Three-in-One”. Trinitarians believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons (or personalities). At the same time, they maintain that God is one. He is not three, but one. In other words, God is a plurality within a unity. The Hebrew word “Elohim” which is used in the Old Testament for “God” means just that — it is a word for God that refers to a plurality within a unity.
Trinitarians do not believe in three gods. They believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons. These persons co-exist. They can communicate with one another. They are not the same person. They are different. Yet they are all co-equal — they all have the same characteristic of being fully God. We certainly admit, how this could be is a bit of a mystery. Yet this is what Trinitarians believe. And I am one of them.
In this article, I aim to show you that beyond any shadow of a doubt, the Bible teaches Trinitarianism. Why might this be important? Because the truth is important. And because the truth will set you free. Another thing that is important is unity with your brothers and sisters in the faith. If Oneness is not true, and you believe in it, you are unnecessarily dividing yourself from others in the faith. The Lord does not want division. He wants unity. It is when we have unity that God commands the blessing! (See Psalm 133)
I urge you today to do your due diligence. This may require time (especially if you have been taught Oneness). But is not time the very thing that you owe God over such an important issue as this? This issue is critical. It is about the very nature of God himself. What could be more important? I hope you will not quickly gloss over this document and toss it in the wastepaper bin. I maintain this study has the power to totally revolutionize your understanding of God, if you will allow it to. But don’t take my word for it. Everything I am sharing with you comes directly from the Bible. Check it out for yourself!
The Word ‘Trinity’ Is Not In the Bible!
I understand the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. But neither is the word “Hamburger.” And there is plenty of bread and meat in the Bible. So, too, I will show you that the concept of the Trinity is very much in the Bible. Please, be patient. Good things come to those who wait. This concept of God being three-in-one (three personalities in one) is difficult to grasp for some people, but let’s face it, even the concept of God is difficult to grasp!
People believe that God exists, but do they really understand how it is that God could have always existed? No. No one understands that. It’s something that evades humans entirely, because it was not given for us to understand. God left that part out of our understanding. So, too, must the concept of the Trinity be accepted by faith. It is not something you will naturally understand. But do the Scriptures teach it? Absolutely.
Even as the Scriptures teach that God is real, so, too, do the Scriptures teach that God has revealed himself in three co-existing, distinct, persons, who are, and who is, the one and only true and living God. The “Trinity” is also commonly referred to as the Godhead.
I’ve heard the analogies. Even as water can be a gas, a liquid, and a solid, God is three-in-one. Or, even as an egg has a shell, a white, and a yoke, God is three-in-one. Or even as man has a spirit, a soul, and a body, God is three-in-one. I use these in evangelism to help people “grasp” the concept of the Trinity. But even at that, all of these analogies cannot really explain how it is that God is three-in-one. That is because this is something that must be accepted by faith.
Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (See Hebrews 11:6)
Are you ready to seek God? Let’s do it!
At the Outset
There are different ways to handle this treatise, but at the outset, I would like to handle the difficult passages first. These are passages which might appear to teach Oneness — until you take a closer look. Let’s look at them carefully. Please, be careful, because your close examination of these is critical!
Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born
For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
This verse tells us that Jesus (who is clearly the “son” in this passage) will be called, among other things, Everlasting Father. Does this teach Oneness? In other words, is this passage teaching that Jesus is the Father? Trinitarians believe that the Father is distinct from the Son, in accordance with other Scriptures (at least 20 clear differences are provided in this article). Because of this, we understand this verse must not be equating Jesus as being the Father, but as having attributes related to being a father, and indeed, an eternal father (hence, “Everlasting Father”). An example of an attribute is that of provider, even as Jesus provided for Simon Peter by telling him to catch a fish which would have a coin in its mouth so Simon Peter could pay the taxes (see Matthew 17:27).
Second, you will notice that Isaiah 9:6 says, “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” It does not say, “His names” (plural). That is because it is not referring to literal names, but attributes associated with these names. Even where it says his name will be called Mighty God, the word for “God” here is “El.” El is not God’s name. El means “God”. It is a title (like “CEO”). On the other hand, God explicitly says his name is Yahweh (incorrectly rendered “LORD” in many versions) (see Exodus 3:15 in a version such as the WEB or LEB that has translated this properly).
God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)
God has one personal name, and it is Yahweh. All other “names” either contain or reflect attributes of God, such as Jehovah-Nissi (more correctly rendered, “Yahweh-Nissi”) which means, “Yahweh is our banner.” Thus, what is God’s name? It is Yahweh. God’s name is not any of these attributes found in Isaiah 9:6. Let us now go over these attributes one-by-one.
1. Jesus is Wonderful Counselor, because you can share with him your burdens: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
2. Jesus is Mighty God, because he is Creator! “For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
3. Jesus is Everlasting Father, because of his fatherly attributes, which endure for all eternity, by virtue of the eternal relationship he has with his people. At any time you can come to him, at any time you can share your burdens with him, at any time he will give you wise counsel, at any time he will lead you in the right way.
4. Jesus is Prince of Peace, because he gives peace to all who trust in him. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
In short, Isaiah 9:6 does not teach Oneness. Instead, it reveals attributes of Jesus.
“I and the Father are one”
Another passage that is sometimes used to support the doctrine of Oneness is: Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) There is also another like it: ‘Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”’ (John 14:8-11)
At first glance, both of these may appear to support the doctrine of Oneness, but I caution anyone reading this to dig deep for the true meaning, because it is plain to see, if you will just turn the page of your Bible once or twice and read chapter 17. In his high priestly prayer to the heavenly Father, Jesus said:
“Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John 17:20-21, emphasis added)
It’s hard to miss what Jesus is saying, but if you did, by any chance, miss it, please read this over again, because this contains the key to unlocking the true meaning of John 10:30 and John 14:8-11. Do you notice what Jesus is saying? He is praying that his disciples would be one in Jesus and one in the Father, even as Jesus is one in the Father and the Father is one in Jesus.
Think about it.
What is Jesus praying? He is praying that his disciples would be one in spirit, or intent, not one in being. The words even as mean a lot. They mean in the same way. Therefore, we can easily see from this passage that Jesus is not one with the Father in being, but rather in spirit and in intent. It’s quite as simple as that.
Understanding John 17:20-21 is critical to understanding John 10:30 and John 14:8-11. Once you understand this, we can now move on to even more exciting material that demonstrates many significant differences between the Father and the Son. This is where things get even more interesting, so get ready!
John 20:17: Jesus ascended to the Father
The following passage tells us that Jesus ascended to the Father.
Jesus said to her (Mary), “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17)
How could this possibly make any sense if Jesus was the same as the Father? How could Jesus ascend to himself? You would have to betray this Scripture to teach the Father and Son were identical beings. The Scripture cannot be broken! (See John 10:35)
Yahweh is God’s name, but did you know that there are two Yahweh’s in the Old Testament, and not one? There is Yahweh the Son, and Yahweh the Father. First, Yahweh the Son appeared to Abraham as a man.
“Yahweh appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.” (Genesis 18:1)
We know this was Jesus, because Abraham called him “the Judge of all the earth” (see Genesis 18:25). Who is the Judge of all the earth? Is it the Father or the Son?
“For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
If Oneness were true, John 5:22 could never be true. You would have to erase this from the Bible.
The Judge of all the earth is Jesus. Many other passages also demonstrate this (for example, Acts 10:42, 2 Timothy 4:1, and Romans 14:10). Abraham was therefore talking to Jesus. This is also confirmed because of what Jesus said about 2000 later to the Jews:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)
Thus, Jesus indeed stood before Abraham that day, even before he was born of a virgin. That is because Jesus, being God, is eternal, and has always existed (see Micah 5:2). He came into the world through a virgin to fulfill a mission, but he has always existed (see also John 1:1).
Note that when Jesus appears in the Old Testament, it is sometimes referred to as a “Theophany.” Jesus appeared many times in the Old Testament.
In Genesis 19, just after Jesus’s encounter with Abraham, we then read that God (Yahweh) destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. But wait! There are two Yahwehs mentioned! One (Jesus) is on the ground, and the other is in heaven!
Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of the sky. (Genesis 19:24)
Did you get that? That’s two Yahweh’s, simultaneously working to bring judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. But has not all judgment been given to the Son? Yes, but it does not mean the Son acts independently of the Father. Jesus was, and is, always in perfection submission to God the Father. Do I fully understand this? Not really! But Jesus said, of the Father,
“I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (see John 8:29)
Furthermore, Jesus said,
“Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.” (See John 5:19)
Did you get that? Jesus says he can do nothing of himself. That means the Father is not himself! Jesus models perfect submission to the Father. This is also why it is important for husbands and wives to understand true, biblical, submission, because that is where authority lies. Thus, it makes sense that the judgment rendered on Sodom and Gomorrah would happen with the Son and Father working together. Thus, we can see that true biblical submission does not mean acting independently from your head, but in concert with him. Even as a woman has been given authority by her husband to have rulership and leadership in certain areas, she does not act independently of her husband, but does what is pleasing to him.
The world does not understand this, but when God’s rules are followed (and the man is truly in submission to God, as he should be), then the woman is, in fact, liberated to carry out her God-given call. Oppressive leadership does not work this way. But true biblical leadership does.
In other words, there was such a unity and agreement between the Father and Son, that the decision to rain fire and brimstone was left up to the Son. The Father honored that. When that decision was finally made — by the Son (see Genesis 18:20-21) — then the Father said, “OK, I’m on board, because I fully trust your decision. I will help you by providing the fire and brimstone.”
My view is as follows. All of the judgment was being carried out by God the Son. But the fire and brimstone was being provided by God the Father. While it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9), the Bible warns us:
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
Therefore, what are we to do? We are to obey Jesus, and repent, as Jesus says (see Luke 13:3).
The Face of God
Next, I want to show you a huge difference between the Father and the Son. The Son’s face you can see. But the Father’s face you cannot see, or else you will die!
In the Old Testament, God spoke to Moses, and said,
“You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.” (See Exodus 33:20)
Therefore, God showed Moses his back (see Exodus 33:23). Who is “God” in Exodus 33:20? This cannot be God the Son, because Jesus was seen by many (see 1 Corinthians 15:6), and he was even seen by Abraham well before that in Genesis 18, as previously demonstrated. Nobody died when they saw Jesus, whether in the Old Testament or the New. Thus, there is a clear difference between God the Father and God the Son.
Jacob (who was then named Israel) wrestled with a man. That man was God. Yet Jacob was surprised, because he saw God and lived. For he said:
“I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (See Genesis 32:30)
Why was Jacob surprised that he lived after seeing God face-to-face? Again, a man named Manoah and his wife (parents of Samson) both saw God, and Manoah, too, was surprised, because they lived.
Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” (Judges 13:22)
Yet Manoah and his wife lived!
Why was Manoah surprised that he lived, after having seen God face-to-face? The reason is evident. Both Jacob and Manoah came to believe that no one could see God’s face and live. Thus, it was a mystery to them why they did not die. Why were they mystified? Because the full revelation of Jesus Christ had still not yet been made manifest to them, or to anyone else. For the Old Testament contains “snapshots” of Jesus, but not the full revelation of him. The full revelation of who Jesus was and is would have to wait until the New Testament.
Thus, both Jacob and Manoah did not understand God the Son — that he is, in fact, distinct from God the Father, and that God the Son and God the Father are not equal in being. Now perhaps all your life, or all your Christian life, at least, you have been taught that God the Father and God the Son were one and the same being. This is what Oneness teaches. But as you can see, this is a lie. Thus, their understanding of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not accurate.
More Characteristics Still
Did you know that there are many more characteristics beyond the ones I have shown here that show that God the Father and God the Son are completely different persons? For example:
In John 14:16, Jesus prays to the Father. He is not praying to himself!
In John 16:28, Jesus came from the Father and went to the Father. He is not coming from himself and going to himself!
In Mark 13:32, Jesus has distinct thoughts from the Father. For he said, “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
In John 8:28, Jesus is taught by the Father.
In John 8:54, Jesus is glorified by the Father.
In John 3:35, Jesus is loved by the Father.
In John 14:28, Jesus is submitted to the Father.
In John 20:17, Jesus ascended to the Father.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus is united but distinct from the Father and Holy Spirit.
In Luke 10:22, Jesus is known by the Father.
In John 5:19, Jesus observes (or sees or looks at) the Father.
In John 5:22, Jesus receives delegated authority from the Father.
In John 16:23, Jesus commands distinction between himself and the Father: “In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
In John 5:30, Jesus does not seek his own will but the Father’s. This makes it very clear that the Father and Son cannot in any way be the same person!
In John 5:36, Jesus has been given work to do from the Father.
In John 5:37, Jesus has been spoken about by the Father.
In John 12:50, Jesus has been spoken to by the Father.
In John 8:29, Jesus always pleases the Father.
And there are more characteristics, still!
In short, I have shown you at least 20 differences and distinctions between the Father and the Son. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father! Oneness is therefore entirely disproven.
Another great text is in Genesis 1, where God says, “Let us make man in our image” (see Genesis 1:26). “Us” does not refer to the angels (as some incorrectly postulate), because the angels did not create anything, neither were they created in the image of God. “Us” must therefore refer to the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, of course, is also God. This is clear from Acts 5, where Peter said to Ananias, “You have not lied to men, but to God” (see Acts 5:4), referring to the Holy Spirit. Why I did not cover the Holy Spirit more in this article is simply because of space, and because my main point has been to disprove Oneness, which is a lie.
I leave you with this thought: God may be a little bit more complicated than you thought. But isn’t it more exciting to believe the truth about the Trinity than the lie of Oneness?
Dear friends, if you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, he leads you to the Father, in accordance with his word: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (See John 14:6) Isn’t it good to know that God does not depend upon his Creation to know and understand what real intimacy with God is all about? For he has modeled it within himself, in the Godhead. Therefore, you can come to God freely, and share your burdens with him, and he will understand you, for he is an intimate, loving, and caring, God. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest,” Jesus says in Matthew 11:28. You can do that today.
May God bless you with these words.
*The printable tract is provided as a PDF document that you can easily print on any letter-sized paper. Print the page (on both sides). If your printer cannot print both sides, simply print on one side, then feed the paper back in, and print on the other. Then, simply fold the page three times in half. This tract is small (2.75″ x 4.25″ — a bit larger than a business card) and convenient for responsible free distribution.