A Plurality in the Godhead

While Scriptures clearly teach that there is one God, they also intimate that somehow there is a plurality within the Godhead. Moses intimated this from the beginning when he recorded God as saying, “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26). This divine statement, of course, refers to God with a plural form, though he is a singular God. Recent scholarship has suggested that this phenomenon is nothing more than a plural of majesty by which God merely refers to himself in a regal fashion, as when the Queen of England refers to herself as “we.”[18] In contrast, however, early church fathers and the Reformers alike have interpreted this as an unmistakable introduction to a plurality within the Godhead. Beyond this instance, God refers to himself this way twice more in Genesis (Gen 3:22; 11:7) and once in Isaiah (Isa 6:8). To be sure, these plural references neither specify three divine persons nor identify the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit in any distinct way. Even so, they exhibit a plurality within the Godhead nonetheless.

While Scriptures clearly teach that there is one God, they also intimate that somehow there is a plurality within the Godhead.

Some will object to this plurality by claiming that since God is one, this renders any plurality within the Godhead impossible (Deut 6:4). This criticism fails to acknowledge, however, that the Hebrew word for one includes an allowance for plurality to coincide, as when a husband and wife are called “one flesh” (Gen 2:24). One dictionary explains that one conveys the idea of “unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness.”[20] Therefore, the meaning of this word beautifully accommodates a trinitarian understanding.

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