The Mormons require every male to spend two years
serving as a missionary. They teach that there are three persons
that make up the Godhead…Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and since each
person is a God this proves a plurality of Gods exist. They will
tell you that these are the only Gods they worship but that an
infinite number of holy persons have spiritually progressed until
they have become gods. They will also teach that God was once a man
and progressed spiritually until He became God and this opportunity
is available to you and other humans who become spiritually worthy.
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that they believe in
one God and His name is Jehovah. They will say that the Father and
the Son are two different persons and only the Father is the one
true Almighty God. They will say that Jesus is less than God and
base their belief on statements by Jesus that he was submissive to
the Father’s will and therefore, inferior. They deny that the Holy
Spirit is God or that He is a person.
Preachers of the United Pentecostal Church teach
that since there is only one true God, therefore, the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit are just three names or titles for the same person.
They will teach that Jesus is the one true God and just manifests
Himself in the different modes of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth." Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God is "Elohim"
meaning the strong One or the putter forth of power.
The El in Elohim is singular, but the suffix him
(pronounced heem) is a particular plural in Hebrew that means
three or more. The verb "created" is in the singular which reveals
that creation was the work of the one true God, but three persons in
the Godhead were active.
The prophet Malachi reveals that the Father was
active in creation. "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God
created us?: Malachi 2:10
Moses revealed the Spirit was active. "…and
the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."
A third Person was also active in creation. This
person reveals Himself through Isaiah by the titles "LORD",
"Redeemer", and "Holy One of Israel." "Come near to Me,
this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;, From the time it
was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His
Spirit have sent me. Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I
am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by
the way you should go. Isaiah 48:16, 17.
The creation story also reveals that there was a
plurality of persons active in the creation of man. "Then God
said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to
Our likeness…´ Genesis 1:26. Being made in the image of God
includes spiritual, moral, and intellectual qualities not possessed
by other creatures of God, but on the basis of God's singular plural
name, Elohim, it specifically refers to man being a trinity of body,
soul, and spirit.
We also have examples of plural personalities in
the Godhead communicating with One Another: "And the LORD said,
'…Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language…'"
Genesis 11:6, 7. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then
I said, 'Here am I. Send me.' " Isaiah 6:8.
There is also reference to plural personalities
in Isaiah's account of God's relationship with Israel. "For He
said,' Surely, they are My people, Children who will not lie.'
So He became their Savior.'" Isaiah 63:8 (The Hebrew word for
Savior is translated "Jesus" in our New Testament). In verse 10 we
read, "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
Therefore, He turned Himself against them as an enemy…"
The prophet Zechariah gave the revelation
that one of the persons of the Godhead would come and dwell with
man. "Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I
am coming and I will dwell in your midst" declares the LORD, "and
many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will
become MY people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know
that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you."
Zechariah 2:10, 11.
From the above
scriptures and others that ascribe deity to the Messiah (i.e. Isaiah
7:14 & 9:6) it should not come as a
surprise that the most sacred Jewish book, the Zohar, makes this
comment on Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O Israel, Jehovah our God,
Jehovah is one" : Why is there need of mentioning the name of
God three times in this verse? The first Jehovah is the Father
above. The second is the stem of Jesse, the Messiah who is to come
from the family of Jesse through David. And the third one is the way
which is below and these three are one." (We understand "the way
which is below" to refer to the Holy Spirit Who shows lost mankind
the way to restored fellowship with God - John 16:7-11).
It is also helpful to compare Deuteronomy 6:4
with Genesis 2:24, "For this cause a man shall leave his father
and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become
one flesh." The bond of marriage unites two personalities
into a spiritual, physical, and affectional unity. In both cases the
word for one is 'echad' , pronounced ekh-awd'.
Jewish priests and scholars in Jesus' day
never challenged His teaching that there was more than one person in
the Godhead. What they did challenge was Jesus' claim to being "the
Son of God" and thus teaching that God had entered the physical
realm: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you,
before Abraham was, I AM" Then they took up stones to
throw at Him…" John 8:58, 59.
"I and My Father are one." Then
the Jews took up
stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, 'Many good works I
have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The
Jews answered Him saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for
blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself
God." John 10:30-33
So why have Jews come to believe that
Deuteronomy 6:4 eliminates believing in one God composed of three
persons? The answer is found in the twelfth century A.D. in the
writings of Moses Mainmonides, one of Israel's most respected
scholars. He compiled thirteen articles of faith which were accepted
into Jewish liturgy. One of them is, "I believe with a perfect faith
that the Creator, blessed be His name, is an absolute one." In doing
so he changed the word "echad" in Deuteronomy 6:4 to "yachid" The
difference is that "echad" means "a united one." As we have seen
from a comparison of Deuteronomy 6:4 with Genesis 2:24 the original
word of scripture does not disallow the belief that the united God
is composed of three persons.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted