Where does one begin in his search to understand God? May I suggest a starting point: Begin with a proper understanding of the term “God.” The word “God” is not a name like Peter, David, Barnabas, or other human names. The Hebrew word for “God” — “Elohim” — is a plural term referring to more than one being. The scriptures clearly show this plural aspect of the term.
In Genesis 1.26, when describing the creation of man, Moses wrote, “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after ur likeness.’” These plural pronouns refer to more than one being. After man sinned, Moses again wrote in Genesis 3.22, “Behold, the man is become as one of us.” After the flood, when the descendants of Noah attempted to build a tower to reach heaven, God, in displeasure, stopped the efforts by confounding their language. Moses wrote in Genesis 11.7 that God said, “Come let us go down.” The prophet Isaiah, when commissioned to go preach, recorded in Isaiah 6.8 that he “heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Who will go for us?’”
Who are the plurality of beings that are God? The Bible mentions three: The Father, the Word, who became flesh and thereafter was the Son (cf. John 1.1-3; Philippians 2.5-10), and the Holy Spirit. These three beings are whom the apostle Paul referred to as the “Godhead.’ The term “Godhead” is found three times in scripture:
- Acts 17.29 — “We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man.”
- Romans 1.20 — “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity” (ASV, “Godhead” (KJV)).
- Colossians 2.9 — “For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
We see from this a clear connection between the creation and the Godhead. From Romans 1.20, we see tat the term “Godhead” is referring to the divine nature or divinity of God. A divine being is not bound or limited as human beings are. The three entities who comprise the Godhead have neither beginning nor end and, as such, are eternal in nature. This is seen from God’s interrogation of Job in Job 38-39.
All three beings were involved in creation:
- The Word (Psalm 104.5-9; John 1.1-3; Colossians 1.16-17; Hebrews 1.2; 2.10; 2 Peter 3.5-6; Revelation 4.11)
- The Spirit (Genesis 1.2; Job 26.13; 27.3; 32.8; 33.4; Psalm 33.6; Isaiah 42.5)
- The Father (Acts 14.15; 17.24)
John wrote of the eternal nature of the Father and the Son in 1 John 1.1-2 (cf. John 1.3; Ephesians 3.9; Colossians 1.12-17). We read of the eternal nature of the Spirit from Genesis 1.2 and Psalm 139.7-10.
Understanding how several individual, divine beings comprise but one Deity is no different from understanding how several individual human beings comprise but one humanity.
As the tern “humanity” refers to a plurality of human beings, so the term “God” refers to a plurality of divine beings.
In the Old Testament, we don’t read of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rather, we read of “Jehovah,” “God,” “Lord,” or “Lord God.” The reason is simple: the “Word” had not yet become furled. However, in the New Testament, the word “God” may refer to all three beings, or only the Father (cf. Philippians 2.5 with Philippians 2.10; see also 2 Corinthians 13.14). The context will determine this. After “the Word became flesh,” the terms “Son” and “Father” were prominent Jesus often referred to his “Father in heaven” (cf. Matthew 15.13; 16.17,27; 18.10). All three (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) are mentioned in the following scriptures: Matthew 28.19; John 14.26; 15.26; Acts 2.33-34; Hebrews 9.14; 1 Peter 1.2.
We are told in 2 Timothy 3.16 that “all scripture is inspired by God.” We read in Hebrews 1.1 that “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.” Yet we find in 2 Peter 1.20-21 that men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 1.10-11, Peter stated that the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets.
Let us remember: “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit’ (Romans 8.11).