Afternoon Sermon: How Many Persons Are There In The One God?, Baptist Catechism 8 & 9, Deuteronomy 6:1–9

Baptist Catechism 8 & 9

Q. 8. Are there more gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God. (Deut. 6:4; Jeremiah 10:10)

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory. (1 Cor. 8:6; John 10:30; John 14:9; Acts 5:3,4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14)

Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1–9

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:1–9, ESV)



If you were to consider questions 7, 8, and 9 of our catechism you would see that all three have to do with the question, what is God? 

What is he? Catechism 7 answers, God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. But now we ask, are there more gods than one? And finally, how many persons are there in the Godhead? All three of these questions, and the answers that are given, help us to think correctly about who or what God is.


Are There More Gods Than One?

So, are there more Gods than one? 

Please allow me to make a philosophical observation before getting to the straightforward answer to the question. If what was said about God in Baptist Catechism 7 was true, then there cannot be more than one God. If God is indeed infinite, eternal, and unchangeable (which we confess that he is), then it is impossible for more than one of God to exist. I’ll leave that for you to ponder more thoroughly at a later time.

Now for the straightforward answer. Are there more Gods than one? We say, there is but one only, the living and true God.

That there is only one God is perhaps the most fundamental tenant of the Christian faith. 

Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV). This means that God is singular. There is only one God, and he is simple within himself.

In Isaiah 44:8 God says, “Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8, ESV).

Are there more Gods than one? There is but one only. 

And notice that our catechism calls the one God, “the living and true God.” 

This is to distinguish the one true God from all false gods. 

The scriptures do speak of other gods. But they are called that, not because they are in fact Gods, but because men and women worship them as such. In reality, they are created things that men and women treat as if they are the Creator of all things.  They are called gods, but really they are not. 

God alone is God. And he, unlike idols which are carved from stone or wood, is living. The one true God is alive. The idols that men and women worship are lifeless. They have ears but cannot hear, eyes but cannot see, mouths but cannot breathe or speak. They are dumb, deaf, and lifeless, and those who worship them become like them, But God is living. 

He is alive because he has life in himself. As Christ said, “the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (John 5:26, ESV). And it is God who gives life to all things. Paul charged Timothy “in the presence of God, who gives life to all things…” (1 Timothy 6:13, ESV)

Are there more Gods than one? Well, if by that you mean, do men and women worship other gods besides YHWH?, then yes, certainly. But if these gods are idols, they are not alive, and if they are creatures who are alive, they are not true gods – no, they are creatures who have been given life by the God who has life in himself. 

Brothers and sisters, we must worship God alone, and flee from idolatry.


How Many Persons Are There In The Godhead?

Now we ask, How many persons are there in the Godhead? Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory.

Notice the order. First, we establish the oneness of God, and then we talk about his threeness. Whatever we say about God’s threeness must not violate his oneness. Both truths must coincide. 

Yes, God is one. This is true. But as we pay careful attention to the scriptures we also see that there is a kind of plurality in the Godhead. We find hints of it as early as Genesis 1 where we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, ESV). These hints at the plurality in the Godhead are mysterious early in the scriptures, but as we move to the New Testament, the dim mystery gives way to clarity and to light. 

When all is considered, we see that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is in some way distinct from the Son and the Spirit. The Son is in some way distinct from the Father and the Spirit. And the Spirit is in some way distinct from Father and the Son. What distinguishes them? Nothing at all except the personal properties of paternity, filiation, and spiration. That is a fancy way of saying that for all eternity Father eternally begets the Son, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father. And the Spirit is eternally breathed forth by the Father and the Son. A key word is “eternally”. There was never a time when the Son and Spirit where not. The Son is eternally begotten, not made. And the Spirit is eternally spirated, not made. Remember what we have said about the one living and true God. He is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.

The end of the matter is this. There is one God, and in the one God there are three persons or subsistences, each with the fullness of the divine nature.  

The Father is fully God. Revelation 1:5-6 says, “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5–6, ESV)

The Son is fully God. John 1:1 and 14 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14, ESV)

And the Spirit is fully God. In Acts 5:3-4 we read, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?… You have not lied to man but to God.’” (Acts 5:3–4, ESV)

What unites them? The divine nature. 

What distinguishes them? Only the personal properties of Fatherhood, Sonship, and Spiration. The Father eternally begets the Son. And the Father and Son eternally breath forth the Spirit. And yet there are not three Gods, but one only. 

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV)



As mindblowing as this doctrine is, did you know that our confession says that this “doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him (Second London Confession, 2.3). We could spend a while talking about why this is. In brief, we have been reconciled to the Father, by the Son, through the Spirit. Our salvation is Trinitarian, brothers and sisters. The one God has determined to save us. And the one God has accomplished our salvation and does apply it to his elect in due time. Again, we have been reconciled to the Father, by the Son, through the Spirit. It is the Triune God who created us and has saved us, to the praise of his glorious grace. 

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