There is clear misrepresentation of Oneness Pentecostalism by Trinitarians. Oneness does not deny the Son. Rather it denies doctrines like eternal Sonship. In fact, while it may be unfair to reject a theology over the lack of one term in the Bible such as Trinity, if one examines scripture one will never find the words:
- God the Son
- God the Holy Ghost
- Eternal Son
- Eternally Begotten Son
With this many terms missing from scripture it leaves one to wonder “can said doctrine still be scriptural or even necessary?” The answer is of course no. Yes it is true that there are some terms like incarnation or omnipresence that aren’t found in scripture yet the concepts they reflect clearly are. Therefore we should examine Oneness and show how it lines up with scripture.
Who is God?
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
This passage of scriptures is called the Shema after the first Hebrew word in the verse. The word LORD here is the tetegramation YHWH or Yahweh. It means The Self-Existant One or the I Am That I Am. In other words whatever He Is(I Am) He is in Himself (That I Am). This is translated in various ways throughout the KJV including LORD, GOD, or Jehovah(sometimes JEHOVAH). Jehovah is YHWH in Latin as JHVH. Yahweh means I Am but Jehovah means He Is.
God in this verse is Elohim which means The Mightiest of the Mighty Ones. It is a repetition of a verb to emphasize Nobility, Royalty, or Divinity. El which is singular means The Mighty One. El, Eloha, and Elohim are translated throughout the Bible as God and god. El and its variants can be used to describe pagan deities however anytime God is capitalised it refers to YHWH as Creator.
Shema means to listen, observe, and obey. It is a commandment. Thus the verse could read: Obey, O Israel: Yahweh Elohim is one Yahweh: and thou shalt love Yahweh Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Trinitarians have tried to argue that the word one here, being translated from echad(one, single, united), proves plurality because it can mean unity however it can also mean single or one in a numerical sense. In truth echad is like the English word one. Context determines meaning. Echad in this verse cannot mean unity since Yahweh and Elohim are clearly the same entity. Therefore this must be echad as in single or one. Therefore this doesn’t teach a Trinity. It in fact affirms absolute numerical oneness which is what Jews, for whom the Shema is a central tenant of their faith, have affirmed stubbornly from day one at mt. Sinai till today. It would be ironic to suggest that this verse teaches the opposition of what it seems to convey. In fact it would make God a liar. God himself said nobody else shares my glory, I created the universe alone and by myself, nobody is before or after me, nobody is beside me, there is none else, I have no equal, and none is like me(see Isa. 42:8; 43:10-11; 44:6-8, 24; 45:21-23; 46:5-9). Clearly God recognizes no “other gods” or “coequals”. There can’t be a new revelation that contradicts previous revelations. In other words if God didn’t reveal himself as a triunity in the past but clearly emphasized his divine oneness then he can’t reveal himself to be triune now. So called “progressive revelation” is false. God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t give you a little bit at a time. He’s an all or nothing kind of God. He’s the same “yesterday, today, and forever”. Whatever he was yesterday he still is today. Yahweh Elohim is still the Creator and King of the Universe and that isn’t going to change.
Who is Jesus?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word or Logos doesn’t just mean Word. It also means personality, character, emotions, logic, reason, articulate plan, and communicative ability or Word. The King James Translators shortened this to Word. However the Logos simply put is the quality by which people identify you as opposed to the form with which that quality is identified. Thus everyone has a Logos.
In Greek Philosophy Logos is a cosmic force of nature like gravity or inertia and the source of divine inspiration. The Greeks believed that everything from gods and titans, to plants and animals, to men, to religion, philosophy, and science, to art, literature, and architecture, to war and peace were inspired to exist by the Logos. John invokes this pantheistic force of nature and turns it on its head. He says that the Logos was with Theos and the Logos was Theos. Or in other words the Logos is a definitive trait of God that is synonymous with God himself. He was not presenting separate divine persons. He was presenting Christ’s preincarnate state. Christ prior to the incarnation was God’s Logos.
This is why it says, speaking of Christ, For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That word Godhead means divinity or divine quality. Bodily means humanity. So in Christ dwells the fullness of the divine quality(the Logos) in full humanity. Christ was not God revealing something new about himself but rather God revealing himself in a new way: in human nature. In fact it says fullness is in Christ not Christ in fullness. Christ is not in the Godhead. The Godhead is in Christ. When God looks in the mirror he sees Jesus(Col. 1:15)!