“One God” according to Seventh-day Adventists

The Seventh-day Adventist 28 Fundamental Beliefs No. 2 states,

“There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. HE IS INFINITE and beyond human comprehension, yet known through HIS SELF-REVELATION. HE IS FOREVER WORTHY OF WORSHIP, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.) 

According to SDA’s 28 fundamental Beliefs No. 2, a singular “God” is described as the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.

Seventh-day Adventist 28 Fundamental Beliefs No. 14 also states:

“…This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as HIS children.”

Thus, “one God” who is composed of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are/is expressed as singular pronouns, “He” or “His” and thereby wittingly or unwittingly invoking orthodox trinitarianism (a combination of 3 persons making one God Being).

Notice such expressions as, “HE IS INFINITE” “HIS SELF-REVELATION” “HE IS FOREVER WORTHY OF WORSHIP” “HIS CHILDREN.” Are the three Persons of the Godhead really an “He”? The intended implication is difficult to overlook and consequently, you cannot help but to view the expression “He” or “His” as denoting a single God Being.

Thus, based on this definition of God, what does “one God” mean? Is “one God” A single trinitarian Being, who is a composite of three persons? Or is He a single tritheist committee made up of three co-eternal god-beings, who are yet somehow still referred with singular pronouns, “HE” and “HIS” in the Fundamental Belief #2? Which is it? 

Apparently, much thought went into wording the Statement No 2 to avoid sounding tritheistic, according to the GC minutes. The above statements of beliefs, notwithstanding, and while there are number of variants within the Church with respect to the trinitarian doctrine, the majority of Seventh-day Adventists espouse their belief in three separate, personal Gods/Beings with three distinct personalities and thus, they lean closer to some form of tritheistic trinitarianism. Either way, unless we have a clear understanding of the oneness of God as it relate to the personality of the Father and His Son, Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy will continue to be employed as the slave to OUR own “eisegesis.”

Furthermore there is much confusion when it comes to identifying Who is Who concerning various passages that “seemingly” identify Christ as “God” or those that definitely do not and vise versa.

Following study is a response to various passages that are generally employed by the trinitarians to establish three-in-one God concept.

“The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” — Deut 6:4

According to trinitarianism, the great Hebrew text of the Jewish monotheism: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God” is not referring to one God in a numerically singular sense but the term “one” refers to a triune God made up of three persons. They reason that the term, “one” (אֶחָד Strongs H259 ‘echad’) in Hebrew means not one in a singular numerical sense but the word actually connotes a union of more than one.

When Jesus created Adam and Eve and married them, He said that they are to become one (אֶחָד Strongs H259 ‘echad) flesh (Genesis 2:24). And when Jesus came to this earth, He further stated that Adam and Eve were no longer two but one (Matthew 19:4-6). It is obvious that Adam and Eve were still two separate individuals but they were to be one in the sense of having a harmonious, loving, and intimate relationship.

Thus, some have concluded that “echad” is not “one” in the singular numerical sense of the word, but a unity of persons, and this is one way trinitarians have tried to wrest the Scriptures to fit their concept of Trinity. With this reasoning, “One God” of the Bible is often compared to “one family;” a single unit made up of multiple persons, etc.

However Moses also used the word “echad” when he wrote that God took “one” (echad) of Adam’s ribs to create Eve (Gen. 2:21). Suffice it to say, God did not take out more than one rib from Adam.

What about

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one (“echad”) was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” (Gen 10:25)

Is Peleg a son made up of more than one person? No!

Also, before God confounded the language at the tower of Bable, we read,

“And the whole earth was of one (“echad”) language, and of one (“echad”) speech.” (Gen 11:1)

We know that this passage also is not saying that there are more than “one” language united into a single language, is it?

Therefore, “one” (echad) does not alway connote a unity of more than one thing or persons; it can simply mean just one. And we can cite numerous examples in Scripture (Just from Genesis we find verses 19:9, 21:15, 22:2, 26:10, 27:37 and more) where “echad” simply means one in a numerical singular sense.

Hence, it is not necessarily a strong argument to say that “one God” of the Bible most appropriately means unity of more than one person, citing “echad” as an example. Moreover there is no passage in the entire Old Testament wherein it describes the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit together as one (אֶחָד Strongs H259 echad) God.

“called THEIR name Adam” – the three-one conundrum

Whenever a non-trinitarian would assert that the “one God of the Bible” is the title that is exclusive to God the Father, the immediate push back is, “are you saying that Jesus is not God?” This is understandable response, for clearly, there is no denying that Jesus is “God” in the sense that He is truly a divine Being not unlike His Father according to the Scriptures. So then, how is it that there is only one God and that one God is exclusively referring to the Father and not an inclusive combination of both Father and the Son or even the Holy Spirit? Well, the following Scripture may shed some light.

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

We are told that “God created man in HIS own image” and that “in the image of God created He HIM” (referring to Adam).

Hence, we can say that there was ONE “quantitative” “Adam” in the exclusive sense. This Adam was the first male, Eve’s husband, the progenitor of the human race, whereby the name or the title belongs to him exclusively.

So, if the question is asked, “how may Adams are in the Bible?” We would aptly reply, “only one,” (numerically) if we are referring to Eve’s husband. However, in Genesis 5:2, we read, “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME ADAM, in the day when they were created”

Did you catch that? Adam and Eve together were called “Adam.” It says, “called THEIR name Adam [singular], NOT “Adams.” “Adam” in this sense means “Adam-kind” or we would say “mankind.” Eve therefore is Adam in the qualitative sense in that her substance/nature or the “material” is the same as Adam, her husband. In other words Eve is a human, not unlike her husband, Adam. That being said, Eve should not be confused with Adam (her husband). They are two distinct and separate individuals or two entirely different personalities.

Keep in mind, Gen 5:2 says, “called THEIR name Adam [singular], NOT “Adams.” Thus even in the qualitative sense there is just ONE “Adam-kind” or man-kind but the posterity of Adam is now made up of billions of people at the present moment.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

In a similar sense, There are two ways we can view “one God” of the Bible; quantitatively or qualitatively.

“God” is an appellation/title that is not unlike “Adam.” It can refer to a specific individual or it can refer to the “nature” of the described individual(s). While the Father is “God” in personality, Jesus is God in nature, but “Son of God” in personality.

For example, when we say “God,” as in, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son,” “God” in this sense should only refer to the Father exclusively and not to the Son nor to the idea of a triune God.

Similarly, while Adam (Eve’s husband) is “Adam” in personality, Eve is “Adam” in nature… Eve is NOT Adam in personality. That is to say, if they are in a room together, and if you are specifically referring to Adam (Eve’s husband), it would be entirely correct to say that there is only one Adam in the room. Moreover, in saying that there is only one Adam (Eve’s husband), should not in any way negate the fact that Eve is also truly “Adam” (mankind) but in the qualitative sense.

Again, we are simply distinguishing “Adam” as an individual who happens to be the husband of Eve and his name/title also happens to be the same word used to describe his nature-“Adam.”

Thus God the Father can be distinguished as the “One God,” of the Bible in the quantitative or in the exclusive sense. This is God the Father’s personality-a singular personal Being but this does not in anyway negates the Son from being rightly called God in the qualitative sense (or via having inherited the Father’s name-Heb 1:4,8).

Problem with trinity is that they conflate personality of God with “nature” of God (Godhead/divinity). In other words, you wouldn’t define Adam, (Eve’s husband) only as a unity of 2 persons ( Adam & Eve) would you? Likewise, you wouldn’t define God (Father of Jesus) only as a unity of 3 persons.

What is evident in Scriptures is that when it refers to God being “one,” it is primarily referring to the personality of God the Father; not a God of plurality. (See Mt 16:16; John 1:18; John 17:3; John 20:8; ; Acts 3:13, 26; Rom. 15:6; 1Cor. 3:23; 15:6; 1Cor. 8:6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1Cor. 15:24-28; 2Cor. 1:3; Eph 4:6; 1Tim 2:5; 1Jn 4:8)

““All that is attributed to the Father Himself is attributed to Christ.”

— Ellen White {DG 61.3}

To illustrate this further let’s take a look at John 1:1,

“In the beginning was —>the Word<—, and the Word was —>with God<—, and the Word —>was God<—.”

Now let’s substitute Eve for “the Word” and Adam for “God.”

With the words inserted, the passage would read,

“In the beginning was —>the Eve<—, and the Eve was —>with Adam<— [first male], and Eve —>was Adam<— [a human being/mankind].”

Hope you are seeing it! Eve, who was “with Adam” (first male, Eve’s husband) should not be confused with Eve, who “was Adam” (mankind).

Similarly, the Word who was “with God” (referring to the Father in an exclusive, quantitative sense) should not be confused with the Word who “was God” (referring to the Word/Son in a qualitative sense-a divine being who is ontologically equal with the Father.)

Consider the following statement:

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, IS TRULY GOD in infinity, BUT NOT IN PERSONALITY.” — (E.G. White, MS116, December 19, 1905) (emphasis in caps added throughout)

Note: Jesus IS “TRULY God” (in nature) and yet he is NOT “God (Father) in personality; they are two separate individuals

“CHRIST WAS GOD ESSENTIALLY, AND IN THE HIGHEST SENSE. He was WITH God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.” —Review and Herald, April 5, 1906 par. 6

Note: Christ “WAS GOD essentially…” and yet He was also “WITH GOD.” Again, we are dealing with “personality” of God vs. the “nature” of God.

“The world is not improving. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. By rejecting the SON OF GOD, THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE ONLY TRUE GOD, who possessed goodness, mercy, and untiring love, whose heart was ever touched with human woe, and choosing a murderer[Barabbas] in his stead, the Jews showed what human nature can and will do when the restraining power of the Spirit of God is removed, and men are under the control of the apostate. Those who choose Satan as their ruler will reveal the spirit of their chosen master.” {RH January 30, 1900, Art. A, par. 6}

“The world that could reject the divine, PERSONIFICATION OF THE INFINITE GOD, are repeating the same history as transpired when Jesus was in the world, refusing Jesus but choosing Barabbas.” {Lt93-1893.}

Note: Jesus is the personification of His Father-the only true God/infinite God.

“After the fall, Christ became Adam’s instructor. HE ACTED IN GOD’S STEAD toward humanity, saving the race from immediate death. He took upon Him the work of MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times. 29th May 1901, ‘God’s purpose for us’, see also Letter 91 1900)

Note: Jesus “ACTED IN GOD’S STEAD;” which is to say, Jesus assumed the role of His Father (who is the only true God in the quantitative sense) when it came to dealing with the human race. But that does not make the combination of Jesus and the Father, ”one God of the Bible.”

Again, problem with trinity is that they have conflated or confound the personality of God with “nature” of God (Godhead/divinity) wherein the doctrine disallows the Father to be distinguished as the “only true God” of the Bible (Jn 17:3) in the quantitative/exclusive sense and only recognizes “one God” of the Bible as “a unity of three coeternal Persons.”

Just because the Father and the Son are both “God” in the qualitative sense does not make the combination of the two (or three) “one God” of the Bible. In other words, you wouldn’t refer to Adam (Eve’s husband) as a unity of 2 persons (Adam and Eve) would you? In the same manner, it wouldn’t be proper to refer to “God” (the Father) as a triune God or “a unity of three coeternal Persons.

Moreover, I have seen many who tries to insert wrong connotations that does not belong in the context in an attempt to wrest the Scriptures to align with their trinitarian bias.

Here’s an example, 1John 4:8-11 (emphasis added by me):

vs. 7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God [Father]; and every one that loveth is born of God [Father], and knoweth God [Father].

vs. 8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God [Father]; for GOD [Father] IS LOVE.

vs 9 “In this was manifested the love of God [Father] toward us, BECAUSE THAT GOD [Father] SENT —>HIS<— ONLY BEGOTTEN SON INTO THE WORLD, that we might live through him.

vs. 10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God [Father], but that —>HE<— [Father] LOVED US, AND SENT —>HIS<— [Father’s] Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

vs. 11 “Beloved, if God [Father] so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

Please note the context. The “God” who “is love” described in 1John 4:8 and the rest of the verses 7 through 11 is NOT a triune God (“a unity of three coeternal Persons.”) but is referring to a singular/personal God, namely the Father, in the exclusive/quantitative sense, who has “sent His only begotten Son into the world.” The pronouns, “His,” “He,” clearly denotes a singular Being. It does not say, God(s) “sent THEIR Son into the world” (vs. 9), nor does it say, “THEY loved us, and sent THEIR Son to be the propitiations for our sins.” (vs. 10) It would also be absurd to think that Christ sent Himself as the Son of Himself.

And yet, I have seen many well meaning trinitarians quote 1John 4 in making the argument, that because “God is love” and “love” being “other centered” and therefore God must be a God composed of more than one, in order for the “other centeredness” dynamic to exist… Argument goes something like, since God’s very essence is “love” and love by nature is “other centered,” and therefore, in order for “God” to BE “love” and manifest His (or their) loving attribute, there must exist recipients/beneficiary of that love within the Godhead, etc. Again, what they fail to see is that the “God” who “is love” in this context is actually the Father in the exclusive sense. and that He demonstrated His love by sending His own Son.

Just to add, when we are talking about the “nature,” Jesus and the Father are fully equal, I don’t see any disparity between them and therefore I fully affirm that Christ is God in the fullest and in the most highest sense as the Father is God/divine… but if we are trying to distinguish the personality of the 2 Individuals, Father is primarily described as “God” and Jesus is primarily distinguished as the “Son of God.”

I will also add that to designate Christ as the “Son of God” does not in anyway diminish the integrity of Christ’s divinity. In fact, this is how the Bible consistently affirms or establishes Christ’s divinity, for when Christ said, he is the Son of God, the Jews understood it to mean that Christ was equating Himself with the Father in the highest sense and therefore sought to kill Him (John 5:18).

There’s a whole lot that can be said here, but I am persuaded that when the Bible speaks of “one God,” that distinction primarily refers to the Father’s personality in an exclusive sense. Jesus, who is the only begotten Son of that “one God,” who bears all that is of the Father in name/nature/essence/attributes, “personified” or “acted in God’s [Father’s] stead” in bridging the gap between heaven and earth as an appointed mediator for the fallen race, both in the Old Testament and in the New.

One Adam-kind | One God-kind

Not unlike how Eve is of the same “kind” as Adam-her husband, we can say Christ and the Father are of the same kind. Difference being that Christ, in the qualitative sense, is unique in that, He is the only other ontologically equal Personality in all the universe who is of the same “kind” as His Father. There are no creatures who share this commonality with God (Father) and His Son.

In other words, there is only “one kind” of God and Father (inherently/originally) and the Son (by inheritance) are the only two that qualify. It is thus the Son is the express image of His Father’s Person and the brightness of His glory (Heb 1:3), for He was truly begotten of the Father in the ontological/filial sense.

Therefore, the concept of “one,” in the case of Adam (mankind) or in the case of God (God-kind) can refer to persons who are ontological equals, who share the same substance, even though there may be more than one individuals. This however only applies in the qualitative sense.

With all that said, whether we are talking about “one God” in the quantitative sense (Father only) or “one God-kind” in the qualitative sense (Father and Son together), we are talking about one God. But again, as far as distinguishing the one God of the Bible, it is primarily referring to the “personality” of God the Father at the exclusion of anyone else but clearly there are two distinct personalities (Father and the Son individually) we can refer to as God. Hope this is clear.

“I and my Father are one.”

In John 10:30 Jesus says, “I and [my] Father are one.

In this passage, Jesus claimed to be “one” with the Father.

Does this mean that Jesus is confirming the concept of Trinity and that He and the Father together make one God of the Bible as part of the triune Godhead? There is no evidence within the passage to suggest this.

“With what firmness and power he uttered these words. The Jews had never before heard such words from human lips, and a convicting influence attended them; for it seemed that divinity flashed through humanity as Jesus said, “I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE.” The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the claim that he and the Father were of ONE SUBSTANCE, POSSESSING THE SAME ATTRIBUTES. The Jews understood his meaning, there was no reason why they should misunderstand, and they took up stones to stone him.” (ST. November 27, 1893 par. 5)

Note: Here, Sister white refers to the Father and the Son as having “one substance” but she qualifies the statement by adding, “possessing the same attributes.” The Father and Son are two separate, distinct personalities and yet they have the SAME divine nature—“one substance, possessing the same attributes”. In other words, Jesus is saying Father and I are of the same “kind” and the Jews understood him as saying such. Ellen White is NOT suggesting that the Father and Son are an amalgamation of three indivisible beings nor is she suggesting that the Father and Son together make one God of the Bible.

What is worth noting here is that there is exclusivity to how Jesus and Father are “one” in John 10:30, that is quite different than the oneness Christ speaks of in John 17, as you will see below. In this “oneness” only the Father and Son qualify.

“that they may be one, even as we are one:”

In John chapter 17 Jesus prays for the oneness He would like for His disciples to have “EVEN AS” He is one with His Father. Please note that the oneness Jesus prayed for in this chapter is NOT the same oneness He had intimated in John 10.

The “oneness” Jesus referred to in John 10:30 is exclusive to Him and His Father only in that “he and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes” and the Jews clearly understood Jesus’ meaning as such and therefore wanted to stone Him for blaspheming.

By contrast, the “oneness” described in John 17 is something that all of us can also experience as His disciples through an abiding or indwelling Spirit of the Father and Jesus in us; “I in them, and thou in me.”  Notice how it reads,

vs. 11 of the same chapter, Jesus says, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE, AS WE ARE.”

John continues the thought,

vss. 20-23 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; THAT THEY MAY BE ONE, —>EVEN AS<— WE ARE ONE: 23 I in them, and thou in me, THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Regarding the intimate unity between Jesus and His Father in John 17, Ellen White explains:

“The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each…. The personality of the Father and the Son, also the unity that exists between Them, are presented in the seventeenth chapter of John, in the prayer of Christ for His disciples… The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. THEY ARE ONE IN PURPOSE, IN MIND, IN CHARACTER, BUT NOT IN PERSON. It is thus that God and Christ are one.” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 421, 422)

“Christ IS ONE with the Father, but Christ and God are TWO distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed THAT HIS DISCIPLES MIGHT BE ONE WITH HIM AS HE IS ONE WITH THE FATHER. But the unity that is to exist between Christ and His followers DOES NOT DESTROY the personality of either. They are to be one with Him AS He is one with the Father.” (The Review and Herald, June 1, 1905)

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (THERE ARE THE TWO PERSONALITIES, but GOD AND CHRIST ARE ONE IN ‘PERFECTION OF CHARACTER’).” (Ms116-1905.15)

“The burden of that prayer was that His disciples might be one AS He was one with the Father; the oneness so close that, ALTHOUGH TWO DISTINCT BEINGS, THERE WAS PERFECT UNITY OF SPIRIT, PURPOSE, AND ACTION. THE MIND OF THE FATHER WAS THE MIND OF THE SON.” 

Note: Because it is stated that Christ and Father are one, some have concluded that combination of the Father and Son would constitute a single divine being or that the unity of Father and the Son together, (along with the Holy Spirit) would constitute “one God” of the Bible, but here, Sister White clarifies the idea and says, “Father and Son “ARE ONE IN PURPOSE, IN MIND, IN CHARACTER, BUT NOT IN PERSON” followed by, “IT IS THUS THAT GOD AND CHRIST ARE ONE.” Moreover, please note that Jesus prayed “THAT the disciples may be one “EVEN AS” Him and His Father are ONE. Clearly Jesus is not suggesting His disciples to become one God along with Him and His Father but rather He wanted His disciples to be in one purpose, in mind, in character as how Him and His Father are “ONE IN PURPOSE, IN MIND, IN CHARACTER…”

In the same chapter (John 17), verse 3, Jesus prays to the Father and says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Jesus called God “the only true God.”

Note: In the above passage, Jesus called the Father “the only true God” and yet He does not include Himself as one being part of that distinction, but added, “AND Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent”.  Never did Christ refer to God as a deity of plural persons. Again, when the Father is distinguished as “the only true God” in the exclusive sense, we are dealing with the personality of God.

James White commenting on John 17 

“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb.” (James White, 1868, Life Incidents, page 343)

One but two personalities

“Here the position of Jesus Christ in reference to his Father is brought to view. While they are one in purpose, and one in mind, YET IN PERSONALITY THEY ARE TWO.” {RH August 15, 1907, Art. A, par. 4}

The oneness existing between the Father and the Son DOES NOT AFFECT THE DISTINCT PERSONALITY OF EACH. And though believers are to be one with Christ, their identity and personality are recognized through the whole of this prayer. {14MR 220.4}

Christians should bear in mind that God HAS A PERSONALITY AS VERILY AS HAS CHRIST. They should so represent Christ’s person and conduct that by doing His work they will manifest the character and spirit of the Father. {18MR 110.1}

Note: While Christ and Father are “one” in substance and character, you will not find a single statement from Ellen White’s writings where she refers to “one” God as God of plurality made up of three persons. Keep in mind also that when Ellen White is distinguishing the two distinct personalities of the Father and the Son, she is countering the erroneous teachings of the orthodox trinitarianism that makes the Father and the Son into a single amalgamated consubstantial god being.

“One Good”

“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? NONE IS GOOD, SAVE ONE, THAT IS, GOD.” (Luke 18:18,19)

“The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.’ On what ground do you call Me good? GOD IS THE ONE GOOD. If you recognize Me as such, YOU MUST RECEIVE ME AS HIS SON and representative.” (COL 390.3)

“‘Why callest thou Me good?’ said Christ, ‘THERE IS NONE GOOD BUT ONE, THAT IS, GOD.’ Jesus desired to test the ruler’s sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded Him as good. Did he realize that the ONE TO WHOM HE WAS SPEAKING WAS THE SON OF GOD? What was the true sentiment of his heart?” (CSA 14.3)

Note: The noted Scripture, Luke 18:18,19 and the above statements seems to suggest that “God” is the Father and that He alone is “one good” exclusively and that Christ is the Son of that “one good.”


“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? , ‘THERE IS NONE GOOD BUT ONE, THAT IS, GOD.” The faith of this young man did not penetrate beyond the surface. HE DID NOT DISCERN IN THE MASTER THE SON OF GOD, ONE EQUAL WITH GOD, who is the way, the truth, and the life. {RH March 28, 1893, Art. A, par. 4}

The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” On what ground do you call Me good? God is the one good. IF YOU RECOGNIZED ME AS SUCH, you must receive Me as His Son and representative. {COL 390.3}

“Why callest thou me good?” asks Christ: “there is none good but one; that is God.” CHRIST DECLINED TO RECEIVE THE TERM GOOD, AS APPLIED TO HUMAN BEINGS APART FROM THE ONE WHO ONLY IS TRULY GOOD, AND EQUAL WITH THE FATHER. {Lt 3, 1897, par. 7}

“Jesus was free from all sin and error; there was not a trace of imperfection in His life or character. He maintained spotless purity under circumstances the most trying. True, He declared, “There is none good but one, that is, God”; but again He said, “I and my Father are one.” JESUS SPEAKS OF HIMSELF AS WELL AS THE FATHER AS GOD, AND CLAIMS FOR HIMSELF PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Manuscript 141, 1901). {7BC 929.4}

Note: Are you seeing what the Inspiration is revealing here? In the above statements, Christ is claiming Himself  “as God” along with the Father and is acknowledged as being “good” with the Him.

When the scripture says, “there is none good but one, that is God”, most non-Trinitarians are likely to view  “one” as a numerical “one” which exclusively refers to the Father at the exclusion of Christ. But I hope you are seeing that the latter set of inspired statements above wherein the “one good” can also be viewed in an inclusive sense referring to both the Father and the Son.

Thus, not unlike Adam and Eve, when we speak of “one” in this context, it can refer either quantitatively to a single individual (the One True God – the Father). Or it can refer qualitatively to the QUALITY (essence/nature/character) of divinity. In this latter sense, the Son can also be considered as being “one” along with the Father:

“The law cannot lower the standard or take less than its full demands, therefore it cannot cleanse us from one sin; but God’s Son, who is one with the Father, EQUAL IN AUTHORITY WITH THE FATHER, paid the debt for us. — RH July 29, 1890, par. 8

“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” — John 14:9


“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” SO FULLY WAS JESUS SURRENDERED TO THE WILL OF GOD THAT THE FATHER ALONE APPEARED IN HIS LIFE. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame. — HLv 258.5

“The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. CHRIST WAS GOD ESSENTIALLY, AND IN THE HIGHEST SENSE. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.” — Review and Herald, April 5, 1906 par. 6

“HE WAS EQUAL WITH GOD, infinite and omnipotent.” — The Faith I Live By, p. 46.6

“Had not the Pharisees been blinded by prejudice, they would have seen that he who was before them was the Christ, and that HE WAS IN THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IN HIM. ‘I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE,’ he declared.” — RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 9

Note: Because Christ is the Son of God, being ontologically equal with the Father, He had an exalted position, ordained by the Father “SO THAT WHEREVER WAS THE PRESENCE OF HIS SON, IT WAS AS HIS OWN PRESENCE. THE WORD OF THE SON WAS TO BE OBEYED AS READILY AS THE WORD OF THE FATHER.” — Lift Him Up, p. 18

Again, Trinitarian doctrine only recognizes “one God” in the inclusive sense as it pertains to the tri-unity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Trinitarian doctrine fails to recognize the Father as the “one God” in the exclusive sense, in the same way Adam is recognized in the exclusive sense.

As noted earlier, when we speak of Adam in the exclusive sense, it refers to just one individual-Adam, the husband of Eve; even though Eve is also “Adam”-mankind. Similarly, Father is the “only true God” in the exclusive sense but we know that the Son is also God in the inclusive sense for He is the Son of God who shares the same substance/attributes as His Father. But again, no where in Scripture you will find that Father and Son together are described as being “one God.”

Does 1 John 5:7,8 affirm Trinity?

It reads in the King James Version: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:7-8; Bold emphasis added)

Many Trinitarians refer to these verses to affirm Trinity. They say that 1 John 5:7, 8 establishes 3 Persons of the Godhead (the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost) as one God.

The words in bold (above) commonly referred to as Johannine Comma (or Comma Johanneum) is a sequence of extra words which appear in 1 John 5:7, 8 and are considered by many, including SDA Bible Commentary to be spurious and are not part of the generally accepted New Testament manuscripts. Click HERE to learn more.

Even still, the added wording does not by itself proclaim the Trinity doctrine (one God made up of three co-eternal Persons) but merely presents the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit as witnesses that are in agreement. This says nothing about the personhood of each nor does it describe the relationship of each to one another.

First of all, the passage does not say that these three are a trinity (a one God made up of 3 co-eternal Persons), nor that these three constitute “one God”, made up of three co-eternal persons. It simply says: “they are one”. We are admonished not to add onto God’s word (Proverbs 30:6). How are they one?

Let’s take a look and see what the passage really reveals (with the noted “bold” passage included).

1 John 5:7 begins with the words: “For there are three that bear record in heaven”. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost are one in the record they bear.

Notice also the following verse. “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” 1 John 5:8

Please note, when 1 John 5:7 says “these three are one”, it refers to the record that they are bearing. They are one in witness and testimony.

Now, what is the record they are united in? “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5

If one interprets 1 John 5:7 to teach a trinity of three co-eternals, they deny that Jesus is truly the Son of God. This is because the trinity teaches that Jesus is only a metaphorical son. Yet only two verses prior, we are admonished that the only way to overcome the world is to believe that Jesus is “the Son of God”!

Furthermore, in verse 6 we read:

“This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” 1 John 5:6

Notice that the Spirit also bears witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Now in verse 9, we see the Father’s testimony of His Son. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” 1 John 5:9 . And what is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son’? We find in Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5 these words of the Father, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And what if we do not believe the record, which God gave of His Son? John continues:

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10

How important is it to believe God’s own testimony regarding His own Son? John once again affirms:

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11-1222

Let us not forget the testimony of Jesus Himself, as penned by the same author:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

It is interesting to note that in 1 John 5:7, the term John uses for the Son is “the Word”. This is important because in John’s gospel, he tells us exactly who the Word is.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Thus, one could rightly translate 1 John 5:7 as: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [the only begotten of the Father], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7

We have seen that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in the record that they bear, and that record is “that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5).

Amazing! The very text which Trinitarians use to teach a trinity of three co-eternal persons (and thereby deny that Jesus is the Son of God) actually testifies to the record that Jesus is the Son of God. Moreover, the same chapter clearly states that our eternal life depends on us believing this truth.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” 1 John 5:13

Again, the concept of “one” illustrated here do not refer to one triune godhead, made up of three persons but rather of the Father, Son, and their own Spirit’s testimony being of “one” accord.

“…that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge…” 1 Corinthians 8:4-7

Did “God” Died for us?

Here’s an example of one of those Ellen White statements that “seemingly” identify Christ as God the Father or “God” in general.

“Let us bear in mind that we are dealing with souls that Christ has purchased with infinite cost to Himself. O, tell the erring, ‘God loves you, GOD DIED for you.’” {Lt 50, 1893, par.11}

Some might apply the following reasoning, based on their particular mindset, to this quote: We know that Jesus died but since Father and Christ are one, GOD the Father also died for us as well”

But is this what the statement is saying?

Some questions need to be asked here:

“what does the statement mean by “God”? Is it referring to Jesus or the Father or the combination of the two (or even three)?

BUT…to extract its true meaning, this quote from Lt 50, 1893, par.11 should be considered:

“God [Father] Himself was CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST; for Christ was ONE with the Father [God]. Those who reject Christ, those who will not have this man to rule over them, choose to place themselves under the rule of Satan, to do his work as his bond slaves. Yet for them Christ YIELDED UP His life on Calvary.” {BEcho, August 6, 1894, par.5}

AND, perhaps this text as well,

“To wit, God was IN Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself…” [2 Corinthians 5:19]

AND this:

“Jesus declared that the pure in heart should SEE God. They would recognize Him [God/Father] IN THE PERSON of His SON, who was sent to the world for the salvation of the human race.” {2 SP 208.3} [See also John 14:9-19]

Furthermore, when we read about Jesus assuming OUR nature at His incarnation, we must also realize the following:

“What manner of love is this, that the eternal God [Father] should ADOPT HUMAN NATURE in the PERSON of His Son, and carry the same into the highest heaven!” {YI July 29, 1897, par.7} (bracket supplied)

Thus, there are two scenarios we may consider as far as “God” in the statement:

1. Jesus is “God” who died for us.

2. Or, Father is “God” who died with Jesus.

Which is it?

First of all, I don’t think we can equate “God Himself was Crucified with Christ” to mean “Father actually experienced death along with Christ.” Nor can we take any other aforementioned statements and have them properly connect to the idea that God actually died with Christ.

While it is true that Father clearly participated in His Son’s death in the sense that He experienced all the pain and agony along with the Son in ways we cannot fathom. But we would have to concede that there’s not a single text in the Bible nor in any inspired testimonies that says Father died along with the Son… If He did then we would have to redefine what death means and would violate how we understand what death is (at least for those who believe as SDAs do – death is a sleep, a cessation of life, dead know nothing, etc). For Father was clearly alive to call forth His Son from the grave and we have volumes of Scriptures/Testimonies that states that it was the Father Who raised Jesus from the grave. I don’t see how a dead person can raise another dead. Furthermore, unlike incarnate Christ, whereby death was made possible for the incarnate personhood but God the Father is 100% divine and thus His personhood is immortal.

In fact, Inspiration tells us that the justice required a separation between the Father and His Son…

“Jesus was bearing the sin of the world; he was enduring the curse of the law; he was vindicating the justice of God. –>Separation from his Father<–, the punishment for transgression, was to fall upon him, in order to magnify God’s law and testify to its immutability. And this was forever to settle the controversy between Satan and the Prince of heaven in regard to the changeless character of that law.” (ST Dec 9, 1897)

“Sundering of the Divine Powers—The Captain of our salvation was perfected through suffering. His soul was made an offering for sin. It was necessary for the awful darkness to gather about His soul BECAUSE OF THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE FATHER’S LOVE AND FAVOR; for He was standing in the sinner’s place, and this DARKNESS EVERY SINNER MUST EXPERIENCE. The righteous One must suffer the condemnation and wrath of God, not in vindictiveness; for the heart of God yearned with greatest sorrow when His Son, the guiltless, was suffering the penalty of sin. This sundering of the divine powers will never again occur throughout the eternal ages” — Manuscript 93, 1899. {7BC 924.2}

“…Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin–sin so offensive to a holy God that –>IT MUST SEPARATE THE FATHER AND THE SON.”<– {Ellen G. White, Signs of the times, 4th November 1908}

Therefore, I would contend that this great and awful death was likened to the 2nd death which the wicked will experience, wherein Christ in His soul, in His Divine/Human Person felt the agony of the separation from His Father as though it was an eternal separation. What we are seeing here is the separation of that “oneness” which the Son always had previously with His Father. Thus, I’m of the opinion that the phrase, “God died for us” must refer to Jesus being God (in the qualitative sense, Who was simultaneously linked Himself with humanity) Who died for us, NOT the Father.

That said, it would be fitting to add this following statement that shows how the suffering of the Son were the suffering of the Father

“The love of God was Christ’s theme when speaking of his mission and his work. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” he says, “because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” My Father loves you with a love so unbounded that he loves me the more because I have given my life to redeem you. He loves you, and he loves me more because I love you, and give my life for you. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.” Well did the disciples understand this love as they saw their Saviour enduring shame, reproach, doubt, and betrayal, as they saw his agony in the garden, and his death on Calvary’s cross. This is a love the depth of which no sounding can ever fathom. As the disciples comprehended it, as their perception took hold of God’s divine compassion, they realized that there is a sense in which the sufferings of the Son were the sufferings of the Father. From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.” YI December 16, 1897, par. 5



Believing in Jesus as the only true God.

As the agitation between SDA trintiarians and SDA non/anti-trintiarians continues the following quote has become a matter of contention: “They say, ‘I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable homes and came to teach me how to find Jesus and believe in Him as the only true God.'” {11LtMs, Ms 25, 1896, par. 34}

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Understanding 1 Corinthians 8:6

There are many today who use this text of scripture to promote the belief that (a) Christ is not God, (b) Christ should not be referred to as God, (c) Christ is not, in any way, truly God, and (d) the Father is the only person who should be called God…

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Jesus as the Only True God?

The following article was in response to an enquiry asitreads.com received through its Contact, asking, Does Ellen White indicate that Jesus is “the one true God” in 6T 311.1? “…I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home, and came to teach me how to find JESUS and believe in him AS THE ONLY TRUE GOD…”

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The God of Isaiah 41

Every now and then, someone would use the book of Isaiah to try and prove that God is a Trinity. In effect, these advocates of the Trinity doctrine are saying that the God of Isaiah was a triune one. But is this true? Let us examine.

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