Is there one God, or are there three?
God has three Members of the Godhead: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). “And now the Sovereign Lord [God the Father] has sent me [God the Son], endowed with his Spirit [God the Holy Spirit]” (Isaiah 48:16). They are all equally God but have different roles. At the same time, the Bible also says “The Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Hebrew word used for “one” is echad, which means one, but in composite unity, like a couple who when married become one (as opposed to yachid, which means “solitary” or “alone”). God’s oneness is something we can never fully comprehend, but does tell us the purpose, mission, character and values of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the same, and They are united in Their love for us. God’s essence is of composite unity.
If God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three separate Beings, why is Jesus (the Son) called the “Ever-lasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, italics added).
The prophecy above describes the very mission of the Messiah, who He is and also refers to the restoration of His authority when He returns to heaven. It tells us that the mighty God of the universe will be born as a Child, as a Son. When Jesus walked on the earth, He did not have His divinity with Him. He laid that aside. It was only when He returned to heaven, though still remaining in His human body, that His status was lifted up back to one of authority. This is why He is referred to as the “Everlasting Father,” not because He has replaced God the Father. God the Father remains distinct in His role, but Jesus’ status is elevated to one that is identical to the Father. They are not higher than another in status, but they differed in the mission to save the world from sin.
Furthermore, the reference may also allude to the fact that Jesus is the Father of the new redeemed race. Adam was to be the father of all mankind, but he failed when he disobeyed God, so God Himself had to step in to become Adam’s replacement:
“For if, by the trespass of the one man [Adam], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5:17).
Which Member of the God-head are we speaking to when we pray?
Jesus taught His disciples a way to pray with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13). However, I don’t believe it’s the prayer that Jesus always uses. His prayer is likely one that is personalised, seeking guidance from the Father, such as the one found in John 17. Notice that when Jesus prays, He addresses the Father. If this was appropriate for Him, then we ought to follow Him in this.
Jesus also taught that we should pray to the Father in Jesus’ name: “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 16:23).
“I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13, 14).
It is important to remember that praying to the Father does not mean Jesus and the Holy Spirit are less in power and status. They simply have different roles to play in our lives. And because Jesus is our access to heaven and the Father, we pray in Jesus’ name.
Is the Holy Spirit Jesus after His death?
The Holy Spirit is not Jesus, but Their character is one, identical. The Holy Spirit is sent to all of us, to live in us, because Jesus, having taken on human flesh some 2000 years ago, cannot be everywhere. But Jesus promised, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Also, “We all . . . are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The presence of the Holy Spirit is what changes us and leads us to repentance and understanding of the truth, and creating us into a new person.
Every month, our Bible correspondence school instructors, Wayne Boehm, Charissa Fong and Christiana Leimena, delve into the Bible to answer some of life and Christianity’s deeper questions. Suggest a topic at [email protected]