How Many Gods Are There?
by: Ted Roberts
Seeking the Everlasting Gospel Ministries, Houston, TX
©copyright 2015 by Ted Roberts
NOTE: All Scriptural quotes are from The King James Version, unless otherwise noted. The passages or words are sometimes in CAPITALS or BOLDING for emphasis. Words in italics, however, within quoted scriptures, are not for emphasis, but were placed within by the King James editors, who 'added' these words for sentence flow, which were not in the original autographs. Text [within brackets] are the authors own thoughts inserted into the biblical text for teaching purposes.
One of the biggest issues of doctrine these days is how many Gods there are. It's such a big issue, in fact, that it has caused numerous divisions amongst Christian people. The year A.D. 1914 was a remarkable date in history and religion. That year saw some interesting events, including a natural star shower; the beginning of the Jehovah Witness Millennium Reign; it was the year that Pentecostal organized religion was born in America; the start of World War I; Charlie Chaplin (the world's first movie star) appeared in his first silent picture; and most importantly, a major division between the Oneness and Trinitarian beliefs had begun.* The need for a correct understanding on the Godhead was so severe at that time, that individuals were inclined to believe that if you had the doctrine of the Godhead wrong, you were doomed to burn in flames forever and ever . . . well, unfortunately, that same belief still remains in some circles today; and a great misunderstanding of the Godhead has caused some disastrous effects in the lives and hearts of fellow Christians. Today, it is most popular to believe in three Gods, whether Triune or Trinitarian. But, let us observe a few scriptures....
Seeing it is one God . . .
1 Corinthians 8:4, 8:6
. . . and that there is none other God but one.
. . . But to us there is but one God. . .
. . . but God is one.
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God . . .
You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Observing these scriptures, we can see that there is but one God. But, what do we do with Jesus? Where does He fit in with all this? Well, some say that Jesus is that one God. Digging further into the scriptures, however, we begin to see that there may actually be more than just one of them.
And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness...
By reading this passage, we can see that the one God is actually more than one . . . or is that really the case? Are there three Gods actually talking to one another in that passage? If that is true, then we must say that there is only one God, and that He is actually made up of three Beings. Or, we can simply imply that God was speaking to the angels in that scenario. Concerning these ideas, it would be wise at this point to express the idea (which all Bible Scholars agree on) that the Hebrew word for God, in the above passage in Genesis, is always observed in the plural, rather than the singular. But does that prove there is more than one God? Well, the modern debate would seem to suggest otherwise:
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, two chief names are used for the one true divine Being -- Elohim (as in Gen. 1:26), commonly translated God in our version, and Jehovah, translated Lord. Elohim (as in Gen. 1:26) is the plural of Eloah, (in Arabic, Allah); it is often used in the short form, El, (a word signifying strength, as in El-Shaddai, God Almighty, the name by which God was specially known to the patriarchs) . . . . The plural form of Elohim (as in Gen. 1:26) has given rise to much discussion. The fanciful idea that it referred to the trinity of persons in the Godhead hardly finds now a supporter among scholars. It is either what grammarians call the plural of majesty, or it denotes the fullness of divine strength, the sum of the powers displayed by God.
And, there you have it! It would seem that Smith's Bible Dictionary is giving no credit to the idea that this passage, in Genesis 1:26, could refer to more than one God. Especially with the discrediting phrase of: "... hardly finds now a supporter among scholars." So, does that end the debate concerning this Genesis passage?
Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the O.T.
The plural “We” was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council.
So, we have some who think the "We" were angels, some who think it was God talking to Himself, and others (the minority of the groups these days, it would seem) who say that it was actually more than one God in conversation . . . . So, what's the answer?
The answer to this question lies in understanding of who Jesus really is, and understanding who or what the Holy Ghost (Spirit) really is.
If we could look into what people call "heaven," and actually see how many Beings are sitting on or are standing around the throne (not counting all the angels or holy hosts of heaven), but actually see the mighty God or Gods who have preeminence above all, we would be able to see exactly how many Beings there actually are, without having to argue about the number anymore, and the issue would then be finally settled. But since we cannot do that, we must rely upon the scriptures for guidance. Now, concerning the Holy Ghost, we know that it is administered (or had been administered, according to some beliefs) unto all the holy people of God on this earth. So, a logical question concerning this event would be, if the Holy Ghost is a single Being, how can one Being be in millions of people at once? In other words, if the single Being of the Holy Spirit is in me, how can he be in you at the same time?
Let us first see what the Webster's Unabridged Dictionary meaning of the word Ghost is.
meaning #4: a spiritual being.
meaning #5: the principle of life; soul; spirit.
The Webster's meaning of Spirit . . .
Breathing or Breathe
meaning #1: the principle of conscious life . . .
meaning #5: a supernatural, incorporeal being. One inhabiting a place. or having a particular character.
meaning #9: the divine influence as an agency working in the heart of man.
meaning #11: the third person of the Trinity; Holy Spirit.
meaning #26: the spirit - God.
Now, considering these modern day dictionary meanings, we can see that several conclusions can be drawn. First conclusion can be that the Holy Spirit or Ghost is an actual Being - one Being. Second conclusion can be that the Spirit merely means life, or breath, and an unction for a conscious life. Now, let's see what the scriptures say:
. . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
It is given, but given by whom? Did the Holy Ghost give himself? Or did another Being give the Holy Ghost to us?
Saint John 14:16 & 14:26
And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever . . . But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things….
There are a couple of thoughts to be gleaned from these passages. First, we can clearly see that the Holy Ghost did not send himself, but the Father did send him. Does this make the Father greater than the Holy Ghost in status? Second thought: it would seem in these passages that the Holy Ghost is referred to as a He. That is, if we consider this phrase (from the above passage): "that He [the Holy Ghost] may abide with you forever." This makes it seem that He's an actual Being - a separate Being, perhaps, from the other two. Or, it could also mean this:
Saint John 14:16 & 14:26
And I will pray the Father, and He [Father] shall give you another comforter, that He [Father] may abide with you forever . . . . But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He [Father] shall teach you all things…
By expressing it like this, it would seem that I call the “He," in this instance, the “Father.” Which would mean that I'm calling the Father a Holy Spirit as well . . . but that would not be far from the truth. Observe:
Saint John 4:24
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
But does this passage refer to God the Holy Spirit and not God the Father? Observe the passage above it to keep it in its context . . .
Saint John 4:21-24
Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God [THE FATHER] is a spirit: and they that worship Him [the Father] must worship Him [the Father] in spirit and in truth.
This gives a different twist, perhaps, to whom the Holy Spirit God is. Is it actually the Father Himself? But let's continue with the passages on the Holy Spirit (Ghost).
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost…
A great thought can be had from this passage also. First, we see the sentence curiously placed: "my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost." And now I would like to give the meaning of the word conscience from Webster's:
meaning #2: the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhabits the actions or thoughts of an individual.
meaning #3: an inhabiting sense of what is prudent.
This word “conscience” brings to mind the word “conscious,” which have nearly the same meaning in some instances . . . Webster's conscious:
meaning #1: aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts surroundings, etc.
meaning #2: fully aware of or sensitive to something.
meaning #3: having the mental faculties fully active.
From these we gather that both are based in the thought patterns of man, where our thinking ability occurs. And this will bring back to mind of our earlier dictionary meanings of Ghost and Spirit . . . let us re-observe.
meaning #5: the principle of life; soul; spirit.
Spirit . . .
meaning #1: the principle of conscious life . . .
And so, in the sentence that Paul said "my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost," we can glean that what he meant here by his statement was that the Holy Ghost was actively administering Spiritual thoughts to him. Perhaps a communicative device between God and man? Nevertheless, and whether that is true or no, Paul is clearly demonstrating that the Holy Ghost was certainly in cahoots with his conscience, telling him what is right and wrong. And, too, John mentioned that the Holy Ghost will also teach us all things (Saint John 14:26). So, as we observed earlier, of how the dictionary meanings of Ghost and Spirit could give us either one conclusion or the other, we see here that this could mean that the Holy Ghost (Spirit) could merely be a principle of life, and not necessarily a single, actual Being. But is life: The Father's life, which He gives to mankind.
1 Thessalonians 4:8
He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God [which God?], who has also given unto us His Holy Spirit.
I asked during the course of that passage which God this is referring to. Well, we have already learned earlier that it was the Father who sent the Holy Ghost in the first place, so it is only logical that this is the same God (Father) who sends it in this verse as well. Now, to me, if the Holy Spirit is a Being, this scripture kind of throws a stumbling block in front of me. Why? Because, if there are three Gods of equal status, why is the Father the one administering that other Godly Being to us? If the Holy Spirit is a mighty God, why is he not capable of administering Himself to the people? And problem #2 with this verse is the mere fact that it called the Holy Spirit the spirit of the Father. Did it really?
1 Thessalonians 4:8b
… but God, who has also given unto us HIS Holy Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit is a Being, separate from the Father, this passage would make absolutely no sense at all. However, if this is merely the life force of the Father, it would make perfect sense . . . what do I mean? Let me explain it like this: If someone was angry with you, and was yelling loudly at you - accusing you of who knows what, what would be the results in most cases? Well, in some cases, you in turn would get angered at that man and yell back. What happened? If a spirit is merely a mental life force (in human terms), it is the consciousness (awareness) of that man. Therefore, his spirit did animate from him and landed on the fellow with whom he was yelling. The recipient would absolutely feel that spirit, the heat, the anger - and in one way or another it would effect the other man. Whether that effect be anger, fear, or even other feelings - it still is felt by the second party. Now, even though this type of spirit had issued from this angry man, it doesn't mean (in the least) that another being came out of that man and landed on the other. What it does mean is that the life force of the angry man was felt by the other.
Now, how can an angry spirit effect several people at once? The same angry man yells at twelve people at the same time. All twelve people feel the anger, and respond to it in one way or another. . . see how easy it was to effect more than one person at one time with a spirit? This might help explain how the Father's Spirit (being the Holy Spirit, spirit of the Father) can be in millions of people at once. It is not a single Being, but a life force from the Father, that dwells in all - including his son Jesus. Just like the mighty sun illuminates the afternoon sky - it is one Object, but it is felt by millions of people at once. Same as the Father, his rays of Spirit are felt by millions at one time. This can be the only logical explanation of how the Holy Spirit can be everywhere at once - as a single Being cannot.
But there is a passage where the Holy Ghost speaks. Could this tear my theory apart? And mean there is an actual Holy Ghost Being that is separate from the Father and Son? Let's observe . . . .
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost says, Today if you will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted ME, proved ME, and saw MY works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known MY ways. So I sware in MY wrath, They shall not enter into MY rest.)
These are some interesting scriptures, having the Holy Ghost actually talking (being an actual Person?). Or is the matter easily explained in another way? What is curious is how the scripture phrases: "…as the Holy Ghost says, Today if you will hear his voice," almost as if the Holy Ghost is actually quoting another source, quoting another God - A God greater than him perhaps? Or we could say that The Holy Ghost is referring to himself, and saying that he was the God of the wilderness that dealt with the children of Israel.
Is the writer of Hebrews quoting a source here? Yes, in Psalms:
O Come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King ABOVE ALL GODS.
We can gather that being above all gods is saying that He is greater than gods of other nations; but as I emphasized the phrase ABOVE ALL GODS, we can also assume that this one God is also above other Gods in the heavens as well. But which one is He, and who is beneath Him?
. . . Today if ye hear His voice, . . .
What was that? Who was speaking there? The Holy Ghost? Now remember we were quoting from Hebrews, which in turn was quoting from this Psalm. Let us quickly re-examine What Hebrews said:
. . . as the Holy Ghost says, Today if you will hear his voice.
Now, was the Holy Ghost speaking in the book of Psalms? Was Psalm 95 written by the hand of the Holy Ghost? I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here, I am just trying to make a point. And here is the conclusion to the matter: The writer of this Psalm, by the influence of the Holy Spirit that was issued from the Father, was writing about the Father God. So, we can safely say that the Holy Spirit was talking through the human writer of this Psalm as he was influenced to write of heavenly matters concerning the Father.
2 Timothy 3:16a
All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
And how is that done? By the Holy Ghost, of course - that is given to us by the Father. A complete reading of Psalm 95 will conclude that it was the quoted source for Hebrews 3:7-11.
But let us, for the benefit of any doubts that remain, just assume it was the Holy Ghost that led the children of Israel through the wilderness, as some may conclude by what was read in Hebrews 3:7-11; and he saying how the children of Israel did temp Him in the wilderness, and did stir up His anger. But was it actually the Holy Ghost of whom the children of Israel did temp, or was it another God? Or was it God the Holy Ghost who was the God of the Israelites in the wilderness?
Let us look at the God who talked to the children of Israel in Exodus.
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of
Now, by this passage we gather that it is a single God that is dealing with Moses. That is, if we truly believe that the plural Hebrew word for God meant only one being. But what the problem here is that in Hebrews it says (perhaps according to some readers) that it was God the Holy Ghost who dealt with the Children of Israel for forty years in the wilderness. But in the Gospels, Jesus said that he was the leader of the Israelites . . .
Saint John 8:58
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.
Saint John 18:4-8 (so knowing about italicized words in the King James Bible - they being not emphasized words, but actually added words to the original text by the translators to help sentence flow).
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek you? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I AM he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I AM he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek you? And they said Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Answered, I have told you that I AM he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way.
Now, some may say that this passage is a mere coincidence to the same I AM in Exodus, except for the fact that when he said I AM, they all fell backward! This tells me that Jesus perhaps was the great I AM in the burning bush. But, I thought that the book of Hebrews said that the God Holy Ghost was the God who dealt with the children of Israel for the forty years in the wilderness? Confusing yet? Shouldn't be, if we learn who Jesus is, and what role he plays in the New Testament and in the Old Testament - if indeed he was in the Old Testament at all. And, too, a conclusive on the whole matter will lie with how much authority the Father has.
The subject of Jesus is a delicate matter. What part does he play in the bible and in our lives? The name Jesus is synonymous with peace, kingship, authority, meekness, kindness, loving, friendship and everything you can think of that is nice, holy and temperate. To many people He is God, the only God. And he stands tall as the greatest figure in the New Testament. So what role does he play in the Bible? Simply put, he is the Son of God, but with a great amount of explanation.
Observing such scriptures as:
Saint John 14:8-9
Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
and . . . .
Saint John 20:28-29
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed…
We are perhaps inclined to believe from these two passages that Jesus is God the Father. Is that true?
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he [Jesus] said unto him, Why call you me good? There is none good but one, that is God…
This is a curious passage. It would seem that Jesus said that He himself is not good, but there is one better than he. And he said it was God. But which God? But as we all know, Jesus was always speaking of the Father in his speeches concerning who had sent him . . . .
Saint John 5:19
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do . . .
He always declared that the Father sent him to do His (the Father's) will. Now, already, this might cast several stumbling blocks on some Godhead doctrinal teachings. First of all considering that the Father is the one who told the Son that the Son must go to earth and do these things . . . this tells me that the Father had dominion, so to speak, over the Son before the Son was sent to earth to do His mission.
Saint John 5:37
And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me.
Saint John 5:30
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me.
So, to perhaps say that before Jesus came to earth He was an equal status God with the Father, might not be a true statement, seeing as the Father sent Him. If Jesus was equal in status, He would have sent Himself, after communing with the other two Gods.
Saint John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son . . .
Some will say that Jesus is God's Being in human form . . . not another Being, but merely God in flesh form - sort of a two fold Being; yet one. That is, God manifested in the flesh to walk the earth. So, the fleshly God was lesser than the Spiritual God who stayed behind in heaven. Here you have the one Being Father who sent to earth a fleshly form of Himself . . . . So, who did the suffering then? Did only the fleshly side of the Father suffer? And how did the fleshly side of that one Being learn obedience through the things that he suffered [Hebrews 5:8]? And if He were only one Being, but in two parts, why did he have to suffer to learn obedience at all? Would not that one same part of Him already have been obedient? Well, I'm sure that someone has all that figured out . . . but there is a hole in that theory.
MORE TO COME...
... a natural star shower.
"This meteor shower seems to have been discovered by W. F. Denning (England), who, during several years around the turn of the century, observed a radiant at RA=218 deg, DEC=+76 deg, which endured during December 18-22. C. Hoffmeister (
... beginning of the Jehovah Witness Millennium Reign.
"The eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses is central to their religious beliefs. They believe that Jesus Christ has been ruling in heaven as king since 1914 (a date they believe was prophesied in Scripture)."
"They still believe Jesus came and was installed king, but invisibly so. "Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the kingdom is a real government from heaven, that it will rule over the earth, and that Jesus Christ is its appointed invisible king'' (Isa. 9:6,7, KJ). Although it occurred invisibly to our human eyes in the heavens, yet it was in the year 1914."
... Pentecostal organized religion was born in
Assembly of God:
"The General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA), one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States, was organized in 1914 by a broad coalition of ministers who desired to work together to fulfill common objectives, such as sending missionaries and providing fellowship and accountability. Formed in the midst of the emerging worldwide Pentecostal revival, the Assemblies of God quickly took root in other countries and formed indigenous national organizations."
"The Assemblies originated from the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. This revival led to the founding of the Assemblies of God in the
"Most people believe this movement first emerged in America around 1914 as the result of doctrinal disputes within the nascent Pentecostal movement and claims an estimated 24 million adherents today, but elements of church following the Apostolic doctrine predate Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church itself."
... start of World War I.
"On August 1, 1914, four days after
"World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war centered in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war, a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved."
... Charlie Chaplin appeared in his first silent picture.
"Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures of the film industry."
"Chaplin was scouted for the film industry, and began appearing in 1914 for Keystone Studios. He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base."
"In 1998, the film critic Andrew Sarris called Chaplin 'arguably the single most important artist produced by the cinema, certainly its most extraordinary performer and probably still its most universal icon.'"
... division between the Oneness and Trinitarian beliefs.
"By the spring of 1914, Ewart accepted the “new found truth “became one of its leading advocates. Ewart reached the conclusion that the singular “name” in Matthew 28:19 was Jesus Christ. He came to believe that the one true God who had revealed himself as Father, in the Son, and as the Holy Spirit was none other than Jesus Christ. To support this view, he pointed to Colossians 2:9, which states that in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
"Ewart explained his discovery to other Pentecostal ministers, some of whom rejected his teaching, but others enthusiastically embraced it. On April 15, 1914, Ewart rebaptized Glenn A. Cook, his assistant and a veteran evangelist of the
"The Pentecostal movement began in 1901 when students at
Excerpt from The Break of Day: The Life Story of William Sowders by Oneal Carman, Publication date unknown -
"Many of the early 20th century Pentecostal groups were shattered as a result of the friction and fury generated by the Godhead issue."
William Sowders: A Man Called Out, Author and date unknown.
PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES ORGANIZE
"It was at this time that papers began circulating, calling all the preachers to
"While Brother Sowders was praying about going to the meeting, one brother in particular was very vocal in urging him to go. He stated that he was going and urged Brother Sowders to accompany him. One night, after much prayer over this matter, Brother Sowders tells us of a dream he had from the Lord as an answer to his prayer. In his dream Brother Sowders saw himself in the hayloft of a large barn. Hearing a noise he looked down, and there in the muck and mire of the dirt floor of the barn he saw this particular brother walking around in the mire with the beasts (animals) of the barnyard. He awakened and said, "Lord, what does this mean?" The Lord said to him, "Brother is going with the Beast." Revelation 17:3. That settled it for Brother Sowders.
"When the General Council met in
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 KJV
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
For more extraordinary events that happened in 1914, see: