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Concept of One

Concept of One

By Paul Chung

"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).


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. Apparently, much thought went into wording the Statement No 2 to avoid sounding tritheistic, according to the GC minutes.

The above statement 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 with three distinct personalities and thus, they lean closer to some form of tri-theism. Either way, the idea of "one God" is often debated as to exactly what it means and thus let's take a closer look at how the Bible describes this concept of "one" with respect to God.

Echad, "and they shall be one flesh"

When Jesus created Adam and Eve and married them, He said that they are to become one (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 explain the 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. “Echad,” therefore, does not alway connote a unity of more than one thing or persons; it can simply mean just one. 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.

“called THEIR name Adam”

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.”

Hence, we can say, 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 reply, ‘only one,’ (numerically) if we are referring to Eve’s husband.

However, we are told that Eve was also called "Adam" (Genesis 5:2). "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. She is a human just like her husband, Adam.

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

In a similar sense, There are two ways we can view “one God” of the Bible; quantitatively of 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; For example, when we say "God," as in, "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son," there is a sense that the title "God" 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, that if they are in a room together, and if we are talking about 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 idea that Eve is also truly "Adam" 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.

“All that is attributed to the Father Himself is attributed to Christ.”
— Ellen White {DG 61.3}

However, not unlike how Eve is of the same “kind” as Adam-her husband, because Christ bears all the attributes of the Father qualitatively (same substance/essence/nature; Col 2:9), He can also rightfully called “God.” 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.

One Adam-kind | One God-kind

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 as far as distinguishing the “personality” of God, there are two distinct personalities (Father and the Son individually) we can refer to as God. Hope this is clear.

Lest I’m misunderstood, 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 the “quantitative” sense. In other words, you wouldn’t refer to Adam (Eve’s husband) as a unity of 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.”

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 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.” {Lt93-1893.21}

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 God, ”one God of the Bible.”

Problem with a trinitarian mindset is that it disallows the Father as the “only true God” of the Bible (Jn 17:3) in the quantitative/exclusive sense but only recognizes “one God” of the Bible as “a unity of three coeternal Persons.” Thus the “nature” of God is confused with personality of God. 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)

And yet, I have seen many well meaning trinitarians quote 1John 4 in making the argument, that because “God is love” He must be a God composed of more than one but actually three… 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/highest sense as the Father is God... 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 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.

“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 one indivisible being 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.” {Lt1-1882.1}

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 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.

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.

"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. {Lt3-1897.7}

“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”, we (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 the latter set of statements above as I do where the “one good” can also be viewed as an unified, inclusive sense that includes both the Father and the Son together.

Not unlike how Adam and Eve was aforementioned, when we speak of “one” it can refer either quantitatively (as in appellation/title), in the numerical sense, to the single individual, the One True God - the Father. In this sense, Christ is the “Son of God.” Or Son of that “One Good.”  

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 and be considered 100% fully God:

"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 an 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

The problem with Trinitarian doctrine is that it only recognizes "one God" in the inclusive sense as it pertains to the tri-unity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, according to Trinity, the inclusion of all 3 must be recognized in "one God." Moreover, 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. In fact, in almost all of Scripture, it is the Father who is consistently recognized as the "one God" through out the Bible. 

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 will you find Father and Son together 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) (Bold emphasis added—words in bold are considered by many

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. Click here to learn more: HERE 

And yet, many Trinitarian’s still 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. Or does it?

Again, there are many evidences to suggest that 1 John 5:7-8 is an interpolation and is spurious. Many suspect that the words in bold are not part of the generally accepted New Testament manuscripts and have valid reasons to believe this.

Even still, the added wording does not by itself proclaim the Trinity doctrine. The addition, illegitimate though it may be, merely presents the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit as witnesses. This says nothing about the personhood of all three since verse 7 shows inanimate water and blood serving as such.

First of all, the passage does not say that these three are a trinity, 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).

Let’s take a look and see what the passage really reveals (with the noted 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 they bear. 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(See also Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5).

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 in the Son of God? 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