Given what Scripture says and the results posted in Appendices A and B, I believe the Bible teaches the Father is not Jesus, Jesus is not the Father, and neither of them are the Holy Spirit. The Godhead consists of three equal, coeternal, separate, and distinct members who live and function as one God. Jesus identified each individually when He gave the gospel commission.1 Later, I will offer a compelling reason why Jesus commanded that everyone be baptized in the name of “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
To be fair, I agree with those who say the Bible appears to teach there is one God2 and I also agree with those who say the Bible appears to teach there is more than one God.3 Yet, this apparent conflict is not the conundrum many make it out to be. There is a reasonable explanation; just as there is a reasonable explanation for the many apparent conflicts God has intentionally placed in the Bible.
For example, some people cite verses supporting the idea that hell will burn for eternity, while others use verses supporting the idea that it will not. Some people present verses supporting the idea that the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross, others offer verses supporting the idea that they are still obligatory. Many apparent conflicts exist in the Bible and the topic of the Godhead is one of them. After investigating this topic for almost fifty years, I believe I have found a solution which resolves the apparent conflict about the Godhead. It can be resolved. Subsequently, everything written in the Bible about the topic remains harmonious. Strange as it may seem, the solution requires an understanding of love. It has taken a long time for me to resolve the conflict and can only attribute this to my own impediments.
I am not being careless with my choice of words when I say, “Divine love has properties that boggle the mind.” Love is the only attribute that beautifully and harmoniously resolves the conflict between the concepts of one God or three. There is no further need to clash over this topic because the Bible teaches that the three Gods function together so closely that they can appear to be one God. When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,”4 He did not mean that He was the Father. Instead, Jesus meant that He and the Father were “one deity” in the same way that a husband and wife can be “one flesh.”5 In both cases, love enables oneness.
The phrase “God is love” has a dimension I did not comprehend for decades. I thought the phrase meant God is infinitely generous and gracious.6 However, by God’s grace, I stumbled into a completely new understanding of what the phrase meant. The members of the Godhead love one another in a way that unifies them as one God! They operate so closely together that they are a living and dynamic demonstration of love every day. The universe will observe and study them for eternity because their love for one another is revealed in their daily conduct. Witnessing their love in real time throughout eternity, and watching how three infinite deities live and work together in perfect peace and joy, will be a phenomenal experience!
A Wonderful Set of Plans
According to John chapter 1 and Hebrews 9:14, the Father was not a lone God before the universe was created; instead, Jesus and the eternal Spirit, two equal, separate, distinct, coeternal Gods accompanied Him. In the beginning, before anything was created, I believe three equals met to discuss plans which included creating an infinite and ever-expanding universe. They agreed on a number of important matters to establish a beginning for events in the universe. We know this is true because they stated this fact in unison! Notice how the plural is used: “Then God said [the Hebrew word elohiym is plural – meaning they spoke in unison, in agreement, with one voice], ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’ ”7
Each deity has the power of life within Himself, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and whatever else belongs to deity. Since we have limited knowledge of the universe, and if we accept everything the Godhead does is purposeful and deliberate, it is reasonable to conclude that long ago they agreed to create an ever-expanding space and fill it with remarkable and fascinating gifts for their children. They wanted an infinite number of planets, stars, constellations, and even universes. “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”8 They also wanted to populate the planets with various kinds of life: plants, animals, birds, fish, and highly intelligent and loving beings, created in their own image.
If you trust the Bible to be divinely inspired, this verse indicates human beings derive their form and likeness from three infinite Gods!9 Of course, many highly educated and otherwise brilliant people reject the Bible, believing instead that human beings evolved from ocean slime, which somehow evolved into baboons, which further evolved into mankind. How could this be when we still have baboons on the earth? How would some baboons make the transformation and others not? Personally, I think demons howl with laughter when they see smart people believing this nonsense. The devil has done everything possible to disconnect mankind from his Creator, and starting with the heavenly angels, has done an amazing job of substituting fact with pure fiction. Jesus said of the devil, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”10
During their meeting regarding a future universe, the three Gods agreed to give their future offspring free will, the power of choice, and conditional immortality. Free will means that each being is self-directed. The power of choice means no member of the Godhead is permitted to override a person’s freedom to choose. Conditional immortality means eternal life is possible. If a person wants to live forever with the Godhead, he has to choose of his own free will to live within wise and righteous boundaries which the Godhead defines.11 The three Gods agreed that each being would be given a natural propensity for rightdoing. This propensity exists within each member of the Godhead, so they placed it within their children. They also agreed to give each being intelligence, the ability to reason, and the capacity to love. Of course, they would also give their children brilliant minds, incredible memories, the ability to learn, a wide range of emotions, and amazing skills. These gifts would enable each of their offspring to live a peaceful and productive life. Each being would experience the thrill of accomplishment and know the eternally endearing joy of contentment, happiness, and social relations. Ultimately, the three Gods designed their offspring so each person would be self-directing, responsible, and accountable for his actions. Basically, they agreed their children would be replicas (images) of themselves,12 minus, of course, the supernatural powers that belong only to deity.
Later, when the time came to create Earth, the Bible says, “So God [again, elohiym is used because more than one God was involved] created mankind in his own image, in the image of God [in the image of them, elohiym] he created them [mankind]; male and female he created them.”13
Jesus created angels before He created man. He created angels in the image of God because, like human beings, they are called “sons of God.”14 The Bible indicates angels are a higher order of being than man.15 Even though they can do things mankind cannot do, they also have free will, the power of choice, and conditional immortality. Because they are self-directed, each angel is responsible and accountable to the Father for his actions. We know this because one-third of the angels exercised the power of choice when they chose to join Lucifer’s rebellion. It is astonishing to realize no member of the Godhead violated the free will of any angel!
In the Beginning, There Was Divine Love
After the three Gods agreed on matters pertaining to the creation of the universe, I believe they had an even more interpersonal discussion to determine what relational arrangement among them would best serve the upcoming universe. They could remain separate, distinct Gods who would rule the universe as a group of three executives exercising sovereign power like Julius Caesar and Pompey and as Crassus tried in 60 B.C. Another option might be to adopt the “go along and get along” kind of relationship. Or, perhaps, they could establish boundaries so each God had sovereign authority over His own domain, and allow each God to forfeit most of His rights and prerogatives so that, together, they would function as one God.
Of course, the three infinitely wise deities understood that if they chose the last option, they would never again possess their original rights and prerogatives without destroying the considered relationship. Their agreed upon solution is difficult for humans to understand and appreciate. It is overwhelming to consider three unlimited Gods were willing to live within self-imposed limits to function as one synergistic unit. Because each member of deity has everything within Himself that deity possesses, the three Gods created a relationship based on a principle called “love.” Each God agreed to forfeit two-thirds of His powers, rights, and prerogatives so that together, they could best serve the universe they were about to create. Using a mathematical analogy:
1/3 of a God + 1/3 of a God + 1/3 of a God = 1 God
The infinite love and wisdom within each God agreed this was the best solution for eternity. Their decision makes the phrase “God is love” more meaningful than most people can realize!
Three almighty Gods humbled themselves by forfeiting most of their rights and prerogatives to one another so they could function as one unit. Additionally, they agreed to live in a “glass house” for all eternity so their children could observe and study their behavior and love toward each other. Think about this: love has to be demonstrated for others to see and understand it. “God is love” means nothing if God does nothing. The Bible teaches faith without deeds is dead.16 Likewise, love separated from action is just a meaningless word.
Before your mind freezes with opposition to the idea of one deity surrendering His rights and prerogatives to another, consider these five examples!
First, Jesus surrendered His life to the Father on the cross so He could die the second death. “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”17 Many people claim, “Deity cannot die,” but Jesus said of Himself, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!”18 If Jesus did not die the second death, how did He pay the penalty for sin?
Second, the Bible teaches that Jesus became the son, the subject, of the Father on the day that Adam and Eve sinned. When Jesus surrendered Himself to the Father’s will to save sinners, the Father said to Jesus, “You are my son [subject]; today I have become your father.”19 The Hebrew word for son is ben, it means “subject to authority.” A son is subject to his father’s authority; so we find in Psalm 2 that one deity surrendered to another!
Third, Jesus (one deity) surrendered His will to the Father (another deity) when He came to Earth. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”20 After fasting forty days, Jesus was tempted to exercise divine power to turn stones into bread,21 but He refused because it was not the Father’s will.22
Fourth, when the Father found Jesus worthy to receive the book sealed with seven seals in 1798,23 the Father recused Himself and surrendered His throne to Jesus. He did this to make Jesus sovereign over heaven and Earth.24 The Father exalted Jesus to His throne to remove any doubt that Jesus, like Himself, is deity. This is what the revelation of Jesus is all about! When Jesus appears at the Second Coming, He will be sitting at the right hand of the Father25 and wearing a sash declaring He is “King of kings and Lord of lords!”26
Fifth, at the end of the 1,000 years, the Bible indicates Jesus will return sovereign authority to the Father. So, once again, the Father will be Ruler of the Universe, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.27 “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”28
These five examples demonstrate how I conclude three deities surrendered their rights and prerogatives to one another. In fact, love made this surrender possible; and as long as each God is willing to love and trust the other two Gods with all His heart, mind, and soul, the foundation of the universe is secure!
God Gives His Subjects Capacity for Love
For many years, I was puzzled by the first and greatest commandment which commands us to “Love the Lord thy God” first and foremost, with all of our heart, mind, and soul. I was perplexed with this apparent conflict: If God is a God of love (extremely generous and kind), how can He demand first place in the hearts of His subjects? I questioned this because love cannot be demanded, it must be given. Should it cease to be given, it no longer exists. Love can only exist through the power of choice. If God demanded everyone to love Him supremely and make this obligation the first and greatest commandment, it would seem contrary to the properties of love. The flip side of the coin is when God says, “If you don’t love Me with all of your heart, mind, and soul, I will have to destroy you.”
For years, I was puzzled. Why would God give His subjects a capacity for love, and then command that we love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul? This resonates of a dictator. I then wondered if God was a benevolent dictator giving us free will and the power of choice. However, dictators do not want their subjects to have free will or the power of choice. Dictators’ demands are self-serving. For many years, the greatest commandment was a puzzle to me, an apparent conflict, until I overcame some of my impediments.
My assertion that three deities surrendered their rights and prerogatives to one another is based on this first and greatest law. One day, a Pharisee, an expert in the Law of Moses, was chosen to engage Jesus with a trick question, “ ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ ”29
I believe God established this first law (boundary) in the universe with this commandment. He created it when each God vowed to surrender and love the other two with “all of His heart, mind, and soul.” They willfully chose to surrender two-thirds of themselves to one another to function as one God. The first and greatest law of the universe defines their relationship which is the preeminent relationship in the universe. If anyone wants to become a member of the “family of God,” that person has to live within the boundaries of this commandment. No one, including the three deities, is above the law! This discovery resolved my apparent conflict and its ramifications are huge! In fact, this discovery proves (for me) the existence of three Gods. Otherwise, if there is only a single God manifesting Himself as three beings, the first and greatest commandment can only be self-serving and inconsistent with the principle of love. Jesus calls this law the first and greatest commandment because it has a higher priority than any other commandment, and because the foundations of the universe depend on it. Whenever the second commandment (you shall love your neighbor as yourself) is exalted over the first commandment, as Adam loved Eve more than God, ruin follows.
A Godhead exists only because three Gods have promised to love each other with all of their heart, mind, and soul. This explains why the gospel commission includes the name of each of the three Gods. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”30 Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize new believers into the name of each God because each born-again believer becomes the fourth member of this family. If we want to live with them, we have to love them as they love one another! I rarely say anything profound, but the previous sentence is so profound the realization of it must become an integral part of our very being.
God’s Love Benefits Human Beings!
Three Gods chose to function as one God to benefit their offspring. If God is love, then one God loves the other two with all of His heart, mind, and soul. Moreover, each God loves His neighbor as Himself! Everything each God does is for the benefit of the other two deities or their children. All they do is righteous, deliberate, and purposeful, framed and guided by mind-boggling love and infinite wisdom. Three Gods unanimously agreed to create the first and greatest commandment because their ways are the ways of righteousness, happiness, and nobility of character. They chose to function as one God because it was the best solution! The reality of having to live forever as “limited Gods” was secondary.
Each member of deity knows that if He remains loyal and true to their covenant, each God will have and enjoy everything that belongs to deity because the other two Gods will faithfully and equally share whatever the rewards may be. Their faith and love for each other in surrendering two-thirds of their rights and prerogatives is awe-inspiring. Giving up the rights and prerogatives of deity is amazing, but Jesus dying the second death for sinners goes far beyond comprehension. Their greatness and largeness is magnified and glorified infinitely by an enduring love and faithfulness for one another and their children.31
Proof Text Demands
Some people demand a “proof text” for everything said about an infinite God as though a “sound bite” is the only or best solution. Bible verses are building blocks and when properly arranged, we discover truths which are otherwise unknown. I am not opposed to the use of “proof texts” as long as they are not used to put the Bible in a state of internal conflict. I am opposed to the idea that everything God wants us to understand is explicitly stated. God draws us into a study of His Word by requiring that we analyze line upon line and precept upon precept. Every truth does not require or have explicit statements. For example, suppose two facts in Algebra are stated: A = B and B = C. From these two facts we can deduct a new fact, A = C, even though there is no explicit statement saying that A = C.
The Bible is full of precious truth, some truths are explicitly stated; many have to be deducted. This makes studying the Bible so exciting! Truth is proven true by the harmony that comes from the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, some people are not reasonable, they insist on a “proof text” declaring that A = C when there is none. I often find this belligerence to be a smoke screen. Some people have staked out a position and are afraid their “theological house of cards” will fall, or be found inferior, if A = C. An honest-hearted, mature Bible student knows when the Holy Spirit is leading him into “all truth,”32 many “theological houses” have to fall and be rebuilt. I do not believe today what I believed fifty years ago! I have had to tear down many of my “theological constructs” to resolve apparent conflicts. This process never ends and it is so exciting! I do not fear what the truth may be, I just want to know what it is and apply it to my life!
The Jews in Christ’s day loved to spar using “proof texts” in their debates, as though eternal life depended on it;33 but for all their learning and memorization of Scripture, they missed the profound truth that Jesus was the promised Messiah! This happened because they errantly searched the Bible to support their religious bias and beliefs, not to understand God’s love, ways, plans, and thoughts. They did not understand John the Baptist was “the Elijah who was to come” because there was no “proof text.”34 In fact, many Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah because Elijah did not show up. Their bigoted experience should be a siren warning us that the Bible should not be treated with arrogance; remember, when it comes to matters pertaining to God, everyone has impediments. Tread softly!
Click on the numbers by the reference to go back to where you were reading.
1. Matthew 28:19
2. Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; Ephesians 4:4-6
3. Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9; John 1:1; Acts 5:3-4; Matthew 28:19
4. John 10:30
5. Genesis 2:24
6. Consider John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9.
7. Genesis 1:26, insertion mine
8. Psalm 147:4
9. Acts 17:26-30
10. John 8:44
11. See Appendix C
12. See Psalm 82 and John 10:34-37.
13. Genesis 1:27, insertions mine
14. Job 1:6; 38:7 KJV
15. Psalm 8:5
16. James 2:20, 26
17. Luke 24:36
18. Revelation 1:18
19. Psalm 2:7, insertion mine
20. John 6:38
21. Matthew 4:3
22. John 5:36; 10:32
23. For more information on dating, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
24. Daniel 7:13-14; Ephesians 1:9-10; Revelation 5:7-8; 19:11-16
25. Matthew 26:64
26. Revelation 19:16
27. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
28. Ephesians 4:6
29. Matthew 22:36-38
30. Matthew 28:19-20
31. John 15:9; 2 Peter 1:17
32. John 16:13
33. John 5:39
34. Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 11:14