In general, Christianity confesses its belief in one God and some in Jesus Christ’s deity; however, since the days of the apostles to our current day many modified that belief, resulting in debate and divisions within. Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (KJV). This passage of Scripture declares that there is no other God but one. It also testifies to unity of a diverse, progressive revelation that finds its completion in Him Who is called the LORD. In this post, I examine this passage and others for the biblical message of the oneness of God and Jesus Christ’s deity.
Daryl Cox / October 5, 2012
There Is One God, and He Is One
What does the Scripture mean when it states there is one God? Why does it say He is one? God is a Spirit. He is invisible and revealed Himself in His creation of all things and by His Word, the Bible. Deuteronomy 6:4 declares that the God of Israel is the true God to the exclusion of all others. Mark 12:28-34 endorses this interpretation. A scribe asks Jesus, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus responds, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (12:29b). Then, the scribe follows with, “Well Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he” (v. 32). Finally, the discourse concludes with “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” (v. 34b). Jesus endorses this man’s understanding of Deut 6:4, also known by the Jews as the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith. It is interesting that Jesus told the scribe that with his understanding he was not far from the kingdom of God. Now what understanding would have gotten him in the kingdom? Jesus said in another passage, John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Had the scribe recognized Jesus as the God of Deut 6:4 he could have come to the kingdom in that point of history. The Shema recognizes no other God but Jehovah.
Old and New Testament Unity of Meaning
Other Old Testament authors declare the same message. In Isaiah 45:5, it says “I am LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” Further, two passages in Jer 10 speak to this message, “Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great is great in might” (10:6); and “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king” (v. 10c). The Old Testament gives us the belief in one God, Who is sovereign to all that exists. We are to love Him with loyalty to the utmost.
When we go to the New Testament, it reiterates the same thought. There is one God and He is one. Jesus and the authors of the New Testament establish profound thoughts with regards to God’s oneness. These authors acknowledge mankind’s belief in more than one God, but they state that the gods of humanity are not gods by nature. Their theologies cannot match the theology of what the Bible says about God. Galatians 4:8 says, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are not gods.” When the New Testament authors say there is one God, they addressed Him as Father because He is the Creator. Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee (The Father) the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” It is the Father who called the only True God. Paul in 1 Cor 8:6a says, “But to us there is but one God, the Father.” The Scriptures see the one God as Father and this one God seeks true worshipers of Himself. The church of the Book of Acts retains the monotheistic belief of the Old Testament. There is no hint of radically changing this truth in the New Testament writings. Retaining the Old Testament view of God’s oneness was the early church’s (of the Book of Acts) way of safe guarding itself from idolatry and error. It is the same safe guard for us today.
Finally, the oneness of God is the biblical truth that the God of the Bible is the only True God. This excludes the ideologies declared by men to be the True God. He has no distinction of persons in His nature. Scripture addresses Him as the Father because He is Creator of all; however, He has revealed Himself diversely and progressively throughout Scripture to conclude His revelation in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the truth that keeps us from error. God desires to make Himself known to all, but only those who respond to His call and seek Him will find.
Pastor Daryl Cox
This writing explains the oneness of God, the center point of the Apostolic hermeneutical framework, as a companion piece to the Word Was Made Flesh, and Dwelt Among Us. Part two follows with greater detail on the oneness of God and incarnation.
Pastor Cox is one of the faculty members at All Nations Leadership Institute (ANLI), as well as an assistant pastor at Lighthouse Church of All Nations. As one of the ANLI staff members, he teaches From Calling to Covenant: The Story of David and Jesus Across the Gospels.
All Nations Leadership Institute prepares and equips men and women for ministry in an urban, multicultural environment. It offers a wide array of classes in theology and leadership. Affiliated with Lighthouse Church of All Nations, the Institute hallmarks bridging the gap leadership.
By: C. P. Kilgork