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The Trinity – A New Monotheism?

J. Dan Gill

True monotheism tells us more than that there is only one God. It also tells us that there is only one individual who is that God. As we have seen, that one is the LORD. He is their Father:

But now, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; all of us are the work of your hand (Isa. 64:8).

Over the course of time, humanity has seen the development of a different kind of monotheism. In this later view, original monotheism has been “stretched” from the essential truth that there is only one individual who is God, to the peculiar concept that multiple persons are one God. Here, the word “person” is used not to mean a human being, but rather any individual with a unique personality.

An example of this reasoning can be found at times in the Hindu religion. Hindus have traditionally worshiped many different individuals who have various names and personalities. However, we sometimes find Hindus viewing these as “manifestations” of the self-same God and declaring themselves to be monotheistic.[1]  The prima facie lack of logic in this theory seems to elude them. Is such a “monotheism” really monotheism at all? It is difficult to see any practical difference between worshiping multiple gods and worshiping multiple persons or personalities who are  called one God. Is not worship of a poly-personal God actually polytheism in disguise?[2]

We see then that the idea of a multi-person God is not logical. Neither is it scriptural. God’s people in the Bible know nothing of a poly-personal Deity. They never speak of the concept of multiple persons as being one God. Neither do they speak of the one God as having multiple personalities or manifestations.

The God of the Bible is a perfect one. He is one perfect being who is one perfect God. He has one personality — His! He is almighty and with him there is neither room nor need for any other as God. God’s people in the Bible bring us no other gods. Neither do they bring us other persons who share in Deity. Rather, they proclaim in three resolute declarations that God is only one person:

  • There is no one besides him — Isaiah 44:8
  • There is no one like him — 1 Kings 8:23
  • There is no one who is God but him — 2 Kings 19:15

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Gill, J. Dan (2016). A New Monotheism. In, The One: In Defense of God (pp. 89-90). Nashville, TN: 21st Century Reformation Publishing.

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[1] One swami puts it this way: “Thus even though appearing to be many and different, they are actually so many personified expressions of the One and the same Supreme Reality.” He goes on to say, “Each deity is, therefore, a personified expression of the One Supreme Divine Being.” The swami explains that one substance can take many forms. Chidananda, Sri Swami, “Hinduism — Monotheism and Polytheism Reconciled,” Divine Life Society, 2004, http://www:dlshg.org/discourse/may2002.htm. For an overview of modern Hinduism see C. J. Fuller, The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

[2] It should be noted that Hindus often acknowledge that their belief is in multiple gods.

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