Torrey - God -2- The Unity of God


I. God's unity.

Deuteronomy 4:35 — "Unto thee it was showed that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God: there is none else beside him."

Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord."

Isaiah 43:10 — "Ye are my witnesses, said the Lord, and my servants whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after me."

Isaiah 44:6 — "Thus said the Lord the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God."

Isaiah 45:5 — "I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me." (See also 45:14, 18.)

1 Timothy 2:5 — "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Mark 10:18 — "And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?

There is none good but one, that is God."

Mark 12:2 — "And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord."

Proposition: The Lord our God is one Lord, and there is no God besides Him.


QUESTION: Is there a multiplicity of persons in this one God?

ANSWER: The Hebrew word translated "one" in these passages denotes a compound unity, not a simple unity. Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

Genesis 11:6 — "And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."

We find a similar use of the Greek word for "one" in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 — '2 have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God, that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one; and every man shall receive his own reward according to his labor."

1 Corinthians 12:13 — "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one spirit."

Compare John 17:22-23 — "And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

Galatians 3:28 — "There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither bond or free, there is neither male or female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

The Old Testament word most frequently used for God is plural in form.

God uses plural pronouns in speaking of Himself.

Genesis 1:26 — -"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Genesis 11:7 — "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."

Genesis 3:22 — "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." Isaiah 6:8 — "Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go forth for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."

Sometimes the Lord (Jehovah) speaks of Himself as sent by the Lord (Jehovah) of Hosts:

Zechariah 2:10-11 — "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee." "The Angel of the Lord" is at the same time distinguished from and identified with the Lord. (See preceding chapter.)

John 1:1 — "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

We will see later that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are designated as divine beings and clearly distinguished from one another (e.g., Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

QUESTION: How can God be three and one at the same time?

ANSWER: He can not be three and one in the same sense.

QUESTION: In what sense can He be one and three?

ANSWER: A perfectly satisfactory answer to this question is manifestly impossible from the very nature of the case: (1) Because God is Spirit, and numbers belong primarily to the physical world, and difficulty must arise when we attempt to conceive spiritual being in the forms of physical thought; (2) God is infinite and we are finite. He "dwells in the light no man can approach unto."

Our attempt at a philosophical explanation of the tri-unity of God is an attempt to put the facts of infinite being into the forms of finite thought and can be at best only partially successful. This much we know: that God is essentially one and that He also is three. There is but one God: but this one God makes Himself known to man as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they are separate personalities.

John 14:16 — "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever."

Mark 1:10-11 — "And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

There is one God eternally existing and manifesting Himself to us in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.