Vol. 5, No. 3
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Truth is nevertheless truth whether it is recognized as such. Likewise, the Godhead is what the Godhead is regardless of whether it is properly acknowledged. This is said only to emphasize that though the religious world holds to several conflicting doctrines about the Godhead, the truth concerning this subject exists in spite of prominent errors. Namely, two primary factors are true about the Godhead. (1) The Bible distinctly teaches that the Godhead is made up of three divine persons. (2) The Bible teaches with equal certainty that the Godhead possesses precise (therefore predictable) divine characteristics The very nature of God is revealed by the Bible.
At least two contemporary denominations deny that the Godhead consists of three persons (commonly called the doctrine of the Trinity). Whereas Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus Christ is God, the United Pentecostal Church admits to only one person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ. In either case, they both disclaim that there are three persons in the Godhead.
The word Godhead is translated from words derived from the Greek, Theos, which simply means divinity. Romans 1:20 uses the word Godhead and refers to evidences apparent in the physical universe that testify of the divine nature of the Creator. The power responsible for creation is of incomprehensible magnitude and contrary to natural law, so much so it can only be the product of Divinity.
Acts 17:29 records the word Godhead in the speech of the apostle Paul before Greeks at Athens. There, the word conveys the idea of the Deity, the one true God. Paul also wrote to the Colossians of the Godhead (Col. 2:9). In that epistle, the apostle referred to the divine essence, the personality of Deity, the state of being God or Divine. None of the citations disclose the number of persons in the Godhead nor the precise nature of Divinity; these revelations are elsewhere found throughout the Bible.
In view of the multitude of passages addressing a plurality of persons in the Godhead, it is truly remarkable that anyone could doubt it. For instance, several passages place the Father in heaven while Jesus Christ was on earth (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 9, 14, 26, 32; 7:11, 21; 10:32-33; 12:50; 15:13; 16:17; 18:10, 14, 19, 35; 23:9; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 11:2); Jesus, during his earthly ministry, said,
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32-33).
Further, the heavenly Father is attributed with characteristics of a person. He sends physical and spiritual blessings (Matt. 5:45; Eph. 1:3). The Father possesses the quality of morality (Matt. 5:48). He is capable of rewarding (Matt. 6:1, 4). Our Father can see (observe, discern, know) (Matt. 6:6, 8, 18; Luke 12:30). He forgives (Matt. 6:15) and can hide things (Matt. 11:25). The Father can be known as a person is known (Matt. 11:26-27); he has a will or volition (Matt. 12:50; Luke 11:2; John 5:30). God the Father also possesses a kingdom (Matt. 13:43), has glory (Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38; John 1:14), receives prayers (Matt. 26:39, 42, 53; Luke 11:2; 23:34, 46; John 11:41; 12:28), is merciful (Luke 6:36), delivers things (Luke 10:22), makes appointments (Luke 22:29), receives spirits (Luke 23:46) and makes promises (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4).
He is referred to as possessing a bosom (John 1:18), loves (John 3:35; 5:20; 10:17; 14:23; 16:27), is to be worshipped (John 4:23), works or does things (John 5:17, 19, 20, 37), has life (John 5:26), gives (John 6:32, 37; 12:49; 18:11), teaches (John 8:28) and is pictured as possessing a hand (John 10:29). The Father has a Son and adopted sons as well (Matt. 8:29; Luke 1:32; Luke 4:41; Luke 22:70; John 3:16; 10:36; Acts 3:13; Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 6:18; 11:31; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; 3:14; Col. 2:2; Heb. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 John 1:3; Rev. 1:6; 3:5). He gave Jesus the words he spoke (John 12:50; 15:15), possesses things (John 16:15) and puts things (Acts 1:7). All this confirms the personality of the Father.
The Holy Spirit is also attributed with characteristics of a person. The Spirit descends (Matt. 3:16), leads (Matt. 4:1; Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18) and speaks (Matt. 10:20; John 16:13; Acts 1:16; 8:29; 10:19; 13:2; 21:11; 28:25; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:7; Rev. 2:11; 14:13; 22:17). The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (Matt. 12:31), has a name (Matt. 28:19), reveals things (Luke 2:26; 1 Cor. 2:10), has before taken shape or form (Luke 3:22), teaches (Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13), comforts (John 14:16; Acts 9:31) and dwells (John 14:17; Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14). He testifies (John 15:26; Acts 20:23; Rom. 8:16; Heb. 10:15), guides (John 16:13), gives utterance (Acts 2:4), can be lied to (Acts 5:3), can witness things (Acts 5:32), can be resisted (Acts 7:51), sends (Acts 13:4), reasons (Acts 15:28), forbids (Acts 16:6-7), appoints (Acts 20:28), intercedes (Rom. 8:26), searches (1 Cor. 2:10), justifies (1 Cor. 6:11), gives gifts (1 Cor. 12:8-9), writes (2 Cor. 3:3), is sent (Gal. 4:6), can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), can be fellowshipped (Phil. 2:1), sanctifies (2 Thess. 2:13), signifies (Heb. 9:8) and can be mistreated (Heb. 10:29).
Scripture also notes that more than one person of the Godhead participated in creation (Eph. 3:9). "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Gen. 1:26). Still other Scriptures mention all three persons of the Godhead in a single breath or stroke of the pen (Luke 1:35; John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 2:33; 10:38; Rom. 15:16, 30; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 5:7). "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," (Matt. 28:19). Here, not only the plurality of persons in the Godhead is proved by Scripture, but the number also (three persons).
Additionally, several other passages mention the Father or the son and the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; Rom. 15:30; 1 Cor. 12:3; Eph. 2:22). Couple with these more passages in which the Father and the Son are mentioned together (Mark 5:7; John 5:18, 22-23; 6:46; 10:32; 11:41; 12:26, 28; 13:1, 3; 14:21, 23, 28, 31; 15:1; 16:10, 28; 20:17; Rom. 1:7; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2-3; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2-3; 2:2; 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:1; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; 2:16; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4; Phil. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:2-3; 2 Pet. 1:17; 1 John 1:3; 2:1, 3; Jude 1:1; Rev. 3:5). Such verses attest the plurality of persons in the Godhead.
The Father raises the dead, including Jesus Christ (John 5:21; Acts 2:24, 32; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:33; Rom. 6:4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:15; Col. 2:12). This, too, affirms the plurality of persons in the Godhead. A plural Godhead is further evident by passages that declare the Father sent Christ (John 5:36-37; 6:44, 57; 8:16, 29, 42; 10:36; 12:49; 13:3; 17:3, 25; 20:21; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; 1 John 4:9).
The person of the Godhead referred to as the Father is acclaimed to be God (Deity) in Scripture; he is called "God the Father" (John 6:27, 45; Gal. 1:1, 3; Eph. 1:17; 6:23; Phil. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4; 2 Pet. 1:17; 2 John 1:3; Jude 1:1). The Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ is God (Matt. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:16). Not only is there a plural number of persons in the Godhead, namely three, but all are divine persons.
Passages which teach Jesus is not the lone person of the Godhead are numerous (Matt. 27:46; John 8:16, 18, 28, 29, 38, 54; 14:1, 28; 16:23, 27, 32; 17:3; 20:17; Acts 2:33; 7:55; 10:38, 40; Rom. 8:17, 34; 1 Cor. 8:6; 15:24, 28; Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:22; 2 John 9-11). The Bible, matter-of-factly, overwhelmingly acknowledges three heavenly personalities in the Godhead.
However, the unity noted in Scripture among the persons of the Godhead does not do away with their plural number. This is obvious when one considers that Christians are one in God and God in Christians, yet our personality under these conditions is not questioned (John 14:20; 17:11, 21-24; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rev. 3:21). Finally, the plural number of persons in the Godhead can be seen in that prayer is to be made to the Father through Christ (Matt. 27:46; John 15:16; Rom. 1:8; 7:25; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17).
Were an objective, unbiased observer to carefully scrutinize the American religious community, he could only conclude that idolatry is rampant in our nation. This is true because of the distorted and contrasting pictures of God presented to the world by denominationalism. Every denomination attributes different characteristics to God and ascribes different laws to him, including the way in which he is to be worshipped. Teaching about heaven and hell, or whether there is any eternity at all, also varies widely between sects. The whole nature of the Godhead is debated throughout the religious community; in essence each religious group has its own unique God, heaven, hell and religious dogma. Amazingly, however, the followers of these several gods have the audacity to claim they are all really worshipping only one God, the God of the Bible.
The idols about which one can read in the Bible were fashioned by men from lifeless wood, molten metal and stone (Isa. 44:9-20; Hab. 2:18-19); modern men have fashioned their idols from their imaginations. The power and hold of these idol gods emanates from the creeds which councils, conventions and synods have adopted. God refuses to walk with them who refuse to walk with him (Amos 3:3). He will no more walk with modern day idolaters than he would with Israel and Judah in their idolatry.
The God of the Bible is not the god of denominationalism! Christians must recognize the distinctiveness of the Godhead; nothing should be allowed to cloud one's knowledge of the one true God (Eph. 4:4-6). Denominationalism is strikingly similar to the idolatry with which the heathen and the children of God have been beset throughout human history. God views idolatry as spiritual adultery (Jer. 3:2, 6; Jud. 2:17; Ezk. 6:9), and doubtless views denominationalism no differently. Mankind was never intended to be the consumer of a religious shopping center; the church (or God), beliefs, salvation, worship, etc. of one's choice were never optional facets of God-given religion.
There is only one God by whom "we live, and move, and have our being" and who "will judge the world in righteousness"(Acts 17:28, 31). As Paul with great boldness declared the True and Living God to the Athenians, let us with the same boldness declare the same Almighty God to the world and keep ourselves from vain idols! "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen" (1 John 5:21).
Whole volumes are devoted to the topic of the Godhead. Therefore, it is not the purpose of this writing to meet or surpass those treatises. However, it is within the scope of this exercise to confirm that the New Testament church is divine in Godhead. In other words, the Lord's church will believe what the Bible teaches concerning God, his Word and eternity. The Bible consistently teaches the same truths about God. Hence, the Godhead possesses precise (therefore predictable) divine characteristics.
The character of the Godhead is changeless (Heb. 13:8); "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jam. 1:17). Summarized, the nature of God includes these divine traits. The Godhead is infinitely righteous or just (Psa. 145:17), but is tempered with boundless love and mercy (Eph. 2:4-5; Rom. 5:8), which results in matchless grace (Titus 2:11). Though loving, God is yet impartial (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11), wrathful and prepared to punish disobedient souls (Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6). There is a heaven into which all the faithful will one day be ushered (Matt. 25:34, 46), as well as a hell to which the unrighteous will be condemned (Matt. 24:41, 46). The Godhead has given man his Will (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3), in which he expects us to abide (Matt. 7:21-23) and by which all humanity will be judged (Rev. 20:12-15).
The New Testament church ascribes to the Godhead only and all the characteristics attributed to God in the Bible. Therefore, the Lord's church teaches that the Godhead is made up of three divine persons who possess the same precise, divine traits. The word Godhead comes from the Greek, Theos, meaning divinity or the quality of being God. In contrast to the conflicting portrayals of the nature of God by denominationalism, the Bible consistently depicts God with changeless and uniquely divine but personal qualities. Last, there is an eternity to which we draw nearer each moment; will heaven or hell be our final abode is the ultimate question with which we must concern ourselves, and what we believe about God and how we respond to him through his Word in this life will determine our eternal future.