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The One True God and the Trinity in the Old Testament

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Question:  Dear Dr. Luginbill, I am currently in a discussion with a friend about religion. I need some sort of proof that in the Bible and in the minds of the people who had it first (the Jewish nation) that there is only ONE true God. I am under the impression (a huge one) that the Bible never disputes the existence of God and never means to say that there is any other, besides Him. And also, that everyone who believed in the Bible believed this strongly. So, then, with more information, I can have a starting point from which to prove to him why the Trinity is the only conclusion in the case of "One True God". Thank you for your ministry. I enjoy the Genesis Gap and other parts of the Satanic Rebellion series. With Love and gratitude.

Response: Thank you so much for your kind words and support. You are entirely correct in your point of view. In my opinion, everyone who truly turns to God "knows", i.e., is taught by the Spirit in His ministry to our hearts, certain basic and essential things about God and about truth (cf. 1Cor.2:12-16; 1Jn.2:20-27). The Bible is the only place to go to delve deeper into the vast truth of God and the truth which God has given us, but the genuine believer, the one who truly trusts Him, is lead in all the right directions by Him (Gal.5:16-26). All it takes is faithfulness and perseverance, and He does answer our every knock (Lk.11:9-13), He does satisfy those who thirst for Him and His righteousness (Matt.5:6).

Such is the existence of God and the "proof" of this essential fact of human life, both inside and outside of the Bible. Such also is the Trinity for all those who want to know the truth. I find your letter very refreshing, because your sincere and genuine faith in Him shines through - a rare and joyous thing in today's skeptical world.

The existence of only THE One God is a fundamental principle of everything in the Old Testament (not to mention the New), and not only that He is, but also who He is - a loving Savior who created us for good, loving us so much that He was willing to sacrifice what was dearest to Him in the Person of His only Son. Indeed, it is only the will of man that keeps man from God, for He is not willing that any be lost (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9; cf. Matt.18:12-14; Jn.12:47; Acts 17:27), yet He will not over-ride our free will, for He has indeed sought us out, and now wants us to accept Him of our own accord, not out of compulsion (cf. Jn.4:23-24).

The most famous Old Testament passage in this respect is the Shema of Deut.6:4: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord, He is our God, the Lord is One" (a passage repeated in the traditional Jewish faith every morning and evening, and amounting to the Jewish "confession of faith"). But the Old Testament is filled with such passages (consider just four chapters in Isaiah for instance: Is.43:10-13; 44:6-8; 45:5-6; 45:14; 45:18; 45:21-22; 46:9). It has been correctly remarked by L.S. Chafer (in his Systematic Theology, v.1, Bibliology), that every single page of the scriptures breathes forth the personality of God (the one and only God), and this impression is one which all who have "believed in the Bible", as you so rightly put it, have always had as well.

In truth, all human beings (with the exception of those who die very young or who never mature mentally) come to the point in their lives where they recognize the existence of God - He has so shaped the universe, the material world, the structure of all we see (apart from sin and evil) that the reality of His existence is inescapable (cf. Ps.19:1-6), but the sad fact is that the sinful human heart is more than capable of rejecting Him and hardening itself against this knowledge of the truth (Rom.1:18-32). For all those who seek Him, He reveals all the truth they desire. And for this reason His scriptures are available and are written as they are - not like a text-book, but as a subtly variegated tapestry that yields its treasures only to those who treasure it in return. The revelation of the incontrovertible fact of the Person of God from what we see in the natural world is usually called "Natural (or General) Revelation" in theological circles, while the specific, supernaturally provided truth about Him in the Bible is generally called "Special Revelation" (see Peter's Epistles lesson #11: "Natural and Special Revelation).

You are absolutely correct, the Bible never disputes the existence of God, and neither does His creation. Only the adversary, and those hardened human hearts he has influenced to turn away from the truth do so (cf. Eph.2:1-3; 4:17-19). There is much information on the Trinity and its basis in scripture in the Bible Basics #1 lesson: Theology: The Study of God, and I would encourage you to have a look at section II which is entirely devoted to the doctrine of the Trinity (if you haven't already done so). One key passage to mention here is Isaiah 63:10-12, where we find the entire Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: "He [the Father] who set His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] among them, who sent His glorious Arm of power [the Son; cf. Is.53:1 and following] ...".

One final word about "proof". You and I believe. We "know" the truth because we have believed it in our hearts, and have trusted that what God has shown us in the world, what He has told in His Word, and what He has lead us to by His Spirit is the truth, the truth in Jesus Christ who is the key to everything, creation, salvation, and our eternal future with Him. Therefore, when I go into "battles" of the sort you are describing, I try to remember that "the battle is the Lord's", and arm myself with His power, His Spirit, trusting in His will to be done. Our Lord spoke penetrating words of truth to all, but still there were very many who rejected Him and His message. Some of these, however, turned to God after the crucifixion. We may not know now how our ministry is being received. We can only trust in Him that - provided we are faithful, of proper motivation, and relying on Him for His glory - He will use us to bring about all the results He intends. In that way, whatever the outcome, His will is done, and He is glorified.

I draw encouragement from your ministry. Please let me know if in any way I can help you refine things further.  And please also consider the following related links:

The Saved and the Unsaved.

Unbelief and its Consequence.

How do you prove the existence of God?

Confronting Atheism.

Yours in the love of Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

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