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Question:

"Why do Christians say they believe that there is one God, but then they say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also God? Doesn't that mean Christians believe in three Gods?"

Answer:

Christians believe that there is one God who exists in three Persons. This can be a difficult concept to understand, but it can be proven from the Bible.

We can demonstrate from both the Old and New Testaments that there is only one God:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4)

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:5-6)

""The most important [commandment]," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one."" (Mark 12:29)

"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one." (1 Corinthians 8:4)

"A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one." (Galatians 3:20)

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)

"I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time-- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen." (1 Timothy 6:13-16)
So the Bible clearly says that there is only one God.


In my article called Is Jesus Really God? I showed that Jesus Christ is God. In the following passages we can see that the Father is also God:
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:3)

"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20)

"and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:11)
So the Bible clearly says that Jesus is God and that the Father is God.


The following passages prove that the Holy Spirit is also God. Notice that the Holy Spirit was involved in the Creation of the world (only God can create things), the Holy Spirit is in all places (only God is omnipresent), the Holy Spirit searches all things (only God is omniscient, meaning that He searches and knows all things), and that the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (only God can be blasphemed). Also notice that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit he was actually lying to God:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2)

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." (Psalms 139:7-8)

"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)

"And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:31-32)

"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."" (Acts 5:3-4)
So the Bible clearly says that the Holy Spirit is God. The Father and the Son (Jesus) are divine Persons, and the Holy Spirit is a divine Person as well. To prove that the Holy Spirit is a Person, notice in the following passages that the Spirit is referred to as "He" and that He does things which involve intellect, will, and feeling, such as convicting, guiding, revealing, searching, knowing, and teaching. The Holy Spirit also speaks, hears, and can be grieved. In addition, we can have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. These are all characteristics of a person and not of an impersonal "force" (as some people consider the Holy Spirit to be):
"But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment ... But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:7-8, 13)

"but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)

"for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." (Luke 12:12)

"Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit." (Mark 13:11)

"The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."" (Acts 8:29)

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2 Corinthians 13:14)

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." (Philippians 2:1-2)
So the Bible clearly says that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all divine Persons.


Finally, notice that all three Persons of the Trinity are doing different things in the following passage, all at the same time. Jesus is being baptized, the Holy Spirit is descending like a dove onto Jesus, and the Father is speaking from heaven:
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."" (Matthew 3:16-17)
This shows that each Person of the Trinity is distinct, and that all three can interact with each other. In other words, they are not three parts of the same Person. For example, I am a husband, a father, a son, an employee, etc., but each of these facets of "me" cannot speak to or interact with the others. Although I can wear different "hats" at different times, I am only one person. However, the Bible says that there is one God, but He exists at all times in three distinct Persons.


Conclusion

The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult for us to comprehend, but it would be presumptuous of us to expect to understand everything about the infinite God with our finite, limited minds. We can see that the Bible clearly says that there is one God Who eternally exists in three divine Persons.


I hope this has been helpful, and may the Lord abundantly bless you as you study His Word!
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 05/27/2001 - Modified some of the wording.