In my discussions with oneness adherents, they routinely offer inadequate explanations to challenges regarding their theology. Some of those challenges deal with the distinction of persons in relation to the Father and Jesus. Oneness theology asserts that there is only one God and one person, not three persons. The word ‘person’ is important because we deal with it when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity – which they deny. They affirm that God is only one person in different manifestations. In light of this, the word “person” is significant and must be defined so we can know whether not to affirm or deny it.
“A person is a set of characteristics that encompass identity, self-awareness, awareness of others, emotions, self-determination, and a rational nature. Personhood is the condition shared by God, angels, and people that involves the ability to think, speak, be self-aware, aware of others, can love, be rational, etc. Both God and angels are non-corporeal yet exhibit the characteristics of personhood. Therefore, the word ‘person’ deals with that set of characteristics and is not restricted to just human beings in physical form.” (https://carm.org/dictionary/person)
Obviously, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit each exhibit attributes of personhood. For example, the Father speaks (Matthew 3:15); the Son speaks (Luke 5:20); and the Holy Spirit speaks (Acts 13:2). The Father has a will (Luke 22:42); the Son is a will (Luke 22:42); and the Holy Spirit has a will (1 Cor. 12:11). The Father loves (John 3:16); the Son loves (Eph. 5:25), and the Holy Spirit loves (Rom. 15:30).
So, the word person is a proper and adequate word that we can use to discuss, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In light of this, here are some questions to oneness adherents.
Is the person of Jesus the same person as the Father?
If Jesus is the same person as the Father, then why does the person of the Son have a different will than the person of the Father (Luke 22:42)?
If Jesus is the same person of Jesus as the Father, then who was Jesus praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42)?
If Jesus is not the same person of Jesus as the Father, then aren’t there two divine persons?
If Jesus is the same person as the Father, then why return in the glory of the Father (Luke 9:26)?
There are many questions like this we could ask. This is just a sampling. Oneness claimed to have answers but when we examine their answers we find that they have logical problems.
Nevertheless, in light of their failed clarity of thought and explanation, I decided to do an in-depth study on the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, just to see what I might learn. So, I searched my Bible program for all verses that contained the words Father, God, Son, Christ, Jesus, He, and Him (in reference to either the Father or Jesus). I then analyzed every instance that I could find (Found in this table). At the time of this article, I examined 128 verses. Of course, I believe there are more, but this should be a good representative selection.
What did I find?
I found a lot of interesting truths consistent with Jesus and the Father each being a person and interacting with each other – as persons. Therefore, oneness is false. In my analysis, here is some of the things revealed in Scripture.
The Father sent the Son (Matt. 10:40; John 5:23; 6:38-39; 8:42; 12:44-45, 49; 13:20)
Jesus descended from heaven and spoke to the Father who was in heaven (John 6:38; 17:1-5)
Jesus and the Father together at the same time (Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 3:17; 11:25, 27; 16:17; 24:36; Mark 13:32; 2 Pet. 1:17)
Separate locations between the person of Jesus on earth and the Father in Heaven (Matt. 3:17; 16:17; 2 Pet. 1:17)
Separate thrones in heaven of the Father and the Son (Rev. 3:21)
Separate wills between the Father and the Son (Luke 22:42)
Jesus is presently at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 7:56; Heb. 1:3)
Jesus is presently in the presence of the Father (1 Thess. 1:3)
A problem for Oneness
We need to know about the relationship between the person of the Father and the person of the Son. Are they the same person? Or are they different persons? They must be different considering that the Father sent the Son (Matt. 10:40; John 5:23; 6:38-39; 8:42; 12:44-45, 49; 13:20). The Son did not send the Father. Jesus came from the Father (John 6:38; 17:1-5); the Father did not come from Jesus. The Father and the Son manifest at the same time (Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 3:17; 11:25, 27; 16:17; 24:36; Mark 13:32; 2 Pet. 1:17). They were in different locations at the same time (Matt. 3:17; 16:17; 2 Pet. 1:17), have separate thrones, (Rev. 3:21), separate wills (Luke 22:42), and Jesus is now presently at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 7:56; Heb. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:3)
These are precisely the issues that demonstrate the distinction between God the Father and the person of Christ. Trinitarians use these verses to support the separate and distinct characteristics of the persons. But, the oneness adherents deny the distinction of their persons and say that, among other things, Jesus’ human nature was speaking to His divine nature. They must see these kinds of things in order to force their doctrines into the Scriptures. But, to say that the human nature was praying to the divine nature implies the human nature is a person and the divine nature is a person. That is how one can pray to another. But if the human nature is a person, then how is Christ a single person who is both divine and human?
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