The “Oneness” Argument Refuted.
There are several questions that need to be answered by those Oneness adherents who do not hold to the Trinitarian view of God. The arguments they present do not adequately defend their position on this matter. With this in view lets look at these arguments.
Q1. Is Jesus His own Father?
Of course, to say that Jesus is His own Father is ludicrous to say the least! If I say, “I am my Father’s son,” therefore, I cannot be my own Father. Yet even though their thinking on this matter is illogical they would give the following answer. As to His divine nature they would argue that Jesus is the Father by virtue of the Father dwelling in Him and as to His human nature He is the created Son who did not pre-exist. They would define their position as Deity working through humanity.
The problem with his statement found in rightly understanding what the Bible teaches concerning the Son. The Lord Jesus as a single person has two natures. This is called the hypostatic union ; that is, in the one person of Jesus are two natures: divine and human. The oneness position effectively divides the one person of Christ into two persons, namely, the Father and the Son, by splitting Jesus into two separate, not unified, parts. Jesus is either divine or He is not. He is either the God-man in one person, or He is not. We cannot have Jesus be his own Father in respect to his deity and the son in respect to his humanity. For a son to be his own father is illogical and the oneness position must back peddle and make the mistake of dividing the natures of Christ into two persons, not one!
Q2. If Jesus’ will and the Father’s will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup of suffering yet resigned Himself not to His own will, but to the will of the Father who sent Him?
The Oneness person would reply, “If you are posing this argument to try to make two wills within the godhead (which in this case are contrary to one another) then you are promoting outright polytheism.” This statement reveals a lack of understanding not only of the Trinity, but also of logic. The Trinity is the doctrine that clearly states that there are three persons in one God and that each person has a will. This does not necessitate the existence of three gods and this issue has been thoroughly discussed throughout Christian history. Nevertheless, we see in scripture that only one God is proclaimed and yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each have separate wills and are each called God. A will denotes identity and self-awareness. The Father has a will and the Son has a will. Are the two wills really one will? Of course not! In addition, it is the mistake of the oneness to accuse the Trinitarians of being polytheists, an unfortunate and erring attack that only demonstrates their ignorance of the doctrine of the Trinity the very thing they are attacking.
Q3. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?
“Since Jesus is God, is He the SAME God He was praying to or was He praying to a different God? The answer is simple. The person of the Son was praying to the person of the Father. It was not one god praying to another god!
Q4. If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then wasn’t He Praying to Himself?
The Oneness person would reply even if we say “Yes” that is not a Biblical problem.” But this is precisely the problem. It would be like saying that the person of the human side of Jesus was praying to the person of His divine side. If that were the case, then we have two beings in the person of Christ, which would be ludicrous. Furthermore, in the New Testament the Lord Jesus is clearly depicted as praying to His Father in Heaven and never to Himself!
Q5. Why was Jesus not saying, “Not My will, but My will be done?” if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in the Garden then how do you reconcile this with Luke and Matthews account?
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42)… “And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
The Oneness person would answer, “Once again, Jesus was speaking in His humanity. In His deity His will was one and the same with God, because He is God. In His humanity He had a human will that He submitted to God.” Nowhere in scripture are we told that the Lord Jesus had a human will and a divine will co-existing side by side within Himself. Scripture clearly tells us that there was the will of the Father and the will of the Son and that the Son submitted his will to the Father in Heaven. We either have Jesus praying to Himself or we have Jesus the Son, praying to the person of the Father. The oneness position makes no sense! Their position in fact gives Jesus a split personality!
Q6. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23 “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” If God is only one person,
why does Jesus say, “we”? The Oneness person may well reply, “If you are trying to use Jesus’ use of “We” to imply literally more than one, then you are promoting two Spirits (three counting the Holy Spirit). However, they cannot see that the Bible says there is only ONE Spirit (Ephesians 4:4,5) not two, not three, but One Spirit who is also called “the Holy Spirit,” “the Spirit of God,” “the Spirit of the Lord” or “the Spirit of Jesus.” All of these designated titles are referring to the One Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit Himself has the same nature as God the Father and God the Son so we can say that the nature of the Father and the Son also dwells continuously in the Holy Spirit even though all three, in their own right, are separate and distinct divine persons who are all God! So then when the Holy Spirit comes to live within a believer He also brings with Him the nature of the Father and the Son. Therefore the Lord Jesus speaks plainly when He says, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
While the doctrine of the Trinity is hard for the human mind to grasp it does not alter the fact that scripture clearly teaches that God Himself is Triune in nature. Because we do not fully comprehend with our human intellect how this can be it does not give anyone the right to alter the plain teaching of God’s Word on this matter. Who indeed can understand the mind of God? Yet we are told that all true believers have the mind of Christ! If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us then we will have no problem accepting the doctrine of the Trinity even though humanly speaking we cannot work out how this can be so.
Again, the Oneness adherents are in serious error when they insist that Trinitarians teach that God is “three spirits”, something not held by Trinitarians. Furthermore, the Oneness adherents who would say that in John chapter 14:23 Jesus was simply using language they could understand ignores what Jesus was actually saying! The Oneness adherents cannot give an adequate answer to the above question given.
Q7. Oneness theology teaches that God was in the mode of the Father in the Old Testament. God was seen in the OT but Jesus said no one has seen the Father. If they were seeing God Almighty but it wasn’t the Father, then who was it?
Compare: (Genesis 19:24) (Exodus 6:2-3) (Numbers 12:6-8) (John 6:46) (1 John 4:12) The Bible clearly tells us that no man has seen God at any time “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father” (John 6:46)… “No man hath seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12). However, in the Old Testament as we have already seen there are references to people seeing God face to face which have already been mentioned in our previous study. Were they seeing another god or the mediator between God and Man the Pre-existent Son of God? It had to be Jesus because this person manifested was also worshipped as God. This has been dealt with in the Angel of the Lord who has been clearly identified as being divine in nature!
Summing up this article defending the revelation of the Trinity from Scripture we need to ask ourselves What are the Qualities and Attributes that actually make up a Person?
A person exists and has identity. A person is aware of his own existence and identity. This precludes the condition of being unconscious. A self-aware person will use such a statement as “I am”, “me”, “mine”, etc. A person can recognize the existence of other persons. This is true provided there were other persons around him or her. Such recognition would include the use of such statements as “you are”, “you”, “yours”, etc. A person possesses a will. A will is the capability of conscious choice, decision, intention, desire, and or purpose. A single person cannot have two separate and distinct wills at the same time on the exact same subject. Regarding the exact same subject, a person can desire or will one thing at one moment and another at a different moment. Separate and simultaneous wills imply separate and simultaneous persons. Persons do not need to have bodies. God the Father possesses personhood without a body, as do the angels. Biblically speaking, upon death we are “absent from the body and home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8) God qualifies as having personhood in that He exists, is self-aware, has identity, uses terms such as “Me”, “I AM”, “My”, and possesses a will.
To conclude these series of studies defending the doctrine of the Trinity as revealed in the Word of God the whole weight of the Bible clearly reveals that God is ONE yet three persons who are all equally ONE GOD.
They have always existed from all eternity and although they are all God they clearly function as three separate and distinct persons within the Godhead. Their wills being always and at all times in perfect harmony and unity! The early Church believed and held to the truth of the Trinity. If we deny the Trinity as revealed in the Bible then the logical conclusion is that we do not even have an adequate defense against the sects who all deny the Trinity! The Oneness adherents have the right Jesus by definition and even proclaim Him to be God’s Son yet deny His existence as the Pre-Incarnate and Eternal Son of God. This is indeed spiritual deception as are all doctrines that deny the Trinity and the eternal nature of the Son of God! The bottom line is this…For the Lord Jesus Christ to be God He must be eternal in nature as God Himself is eternal in nature. To deny this fact is to make the Lord Jesus a perfect human being like Adam was before the fall and nothing more. Adam was a created being who had no previous existence, but the Lord Jesus Christ has existed from all eternity.
Sources: Mike Oppenheimer. (Jewish Hebrew Scholar) “Let us Reason” website.Arnold Fruchtenbaum of “Ariel Ministries” (Jewish Hebrew Scholar).Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website. My own Bible references/ research as well. Texts used are the NIV and the King James Version