The following verse functions as the creed, or confession of faith, which the Israelites were to live by:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one (echad) Lord:” Deuteronomy 6:4
Oftentimes, anti-Trinitarians will cite this text as proof that God is a singular Person, not just a singular Being, in order to show that Trinitarianism is incompatible with the biblical revelation, particularly with the [O]ld [T]estament’s proclamation of Jehovah being one eternal divine Person.
In this post I am going to provide evidence to the contrary, citing examples to prove that, instead of refuting the fact of God’s eternally existing as a multi-Personal Being, echad actually supports this divinely revealed truth.
Notice carefully what the following passages teach:
“Did not HE that made me in the womb make him? and did not ONE (echad) fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15
“Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth BY MYSELF;” Isaiah 44:24
These inspired texts affirm that the same one God made and fashioned the entire creation all by himself. The passage from Job even uses the very term echad to emphasize this fact.
Herein lies the problem for the unitarian. These same sacred writings emphatically testify that the one eternal Creator and Sustainer of all things is multi-Personal. Note, for instance, the following texts:
“But none saith, Where is God my maker (Eloah ‘Osay), who giveth songs in the night;” Job 35:10
‘Osay is the masculine singular plural participle form of asah, and literally means “my Makers.”
“Remember now thy Creator (Bor’eka) in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” Ecclesiastes 12:1
Bor’eka is the masculine singular plural participle form of barah, and literally says “thy Creators.”
“For thy Maker (‘Osayik) is thine husband (Bo’alayik); the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isaiah 54:5
‘Osayik is the plural participle form of asah, and Bo’alayik is the plural participle form of baal. The text literally reads, “For thy Makers are thine Husbands.”
We, thus, have the Hebrew Bible explicitly bearing witness to the fact that the Creator and Sustainer of all things is a multi-Personal Being, a point affirmed in the next set of passages:
“By HIS SPIRIT (Rucho) he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.” Job 26:13
“The Spirit (Ruach) of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4 Job 33:4
Here we have God’s Spirit fashioning the heavens and making mankind. And:
“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I WILL MULTIPLY THY SEED EXCEEDINGLY, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.” Genesis 16:7-14
Not only did Hagar identify the Angel as the God who sees her, the Angel claims to possess the power to create and give life since he tells Hagar that he shall be the One who will personally give her countless physical descendants that cannot be numbered!
“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I FORMED THEE in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5
The Word of God specifically tells Jeremiah that he was the One who personally formed the prophet in the womb of his mother for the express purpose of commissioning him to be his inspired emissary.
Amazingly, this next verse,
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (Ruach) of his mouth.” Psalm 33:6
Attributes the creation of the heavens and their host to the Word and Spirit of the Lord, a foreshadowing of the NT’s more fuller teaching on the Trinity!
All of these OT citations prove that echad does not exclude the fact of God’s existing as a multi-Personal Being. Rather, echad functions in much the same way that it does in passages where diverse aspects or distinct individuals come together to form a unity. Here are a few cases:
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first (echad) day.” Genesis 1:5
Night and day, darkness and light, evening and morning together form one day.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Two distinct physical human beings come together to become one flesh.
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: and, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: and the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one (echad): God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.” Genesis 41:14-25
The two dreams that Pharaoh saw are actually one and the same.
“And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one (echad) cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.” Numbers 13:23
Multiple grapes form a single cluster.
“Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one (echad) man, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the Lord in Mizpeh… And all the people arose as one (echad) man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house.” Judges 20:1, 8
Here we have a whole nation coming together as one man!
Hence, instead of negating the Trinity, echad actually lends support to the fact that the one true sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all creation is a multi-Personal Being, in fact a Triune Being, whom the NT reveals as the Father, the Son/Word who became flesh, and the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 1:18-25; 28:19; John 1:1-5, 9-10, 14; Romans 8:9-27; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2).
So much for the unitarian and anti-Trinitarian misuse of this Hebrew term.
The OT Evidence for God’s Uni-Personal https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/the-ot-evidence-for-gods-uni-plurality/
Does the word Elohim in Genesis 1 point to God’s Triunity? https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/does-the-word-elohim-in-genesis-1-point-to-gods-triunity/
The Early Church’s Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible’s Use of Plural Pronouns for God https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/the-early-churchs-interpretation-of-the-hebrew-bibles-use-of-plural-pronouns-for-god/
The Trinity in Genesis 3:5 and 22 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/the-trinity-in-genesis-35-and-22/
God in the Garden of Eden Pt. 1 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/god-in-the-garden-of-eden-pt-1/
God in the Garden of Eden Pt. 2 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/god-in-the-garden-of-eden-pt-2/
Abraham as Echad https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/abraham-as-echad-addressing-a-muslim-objection/
The Trinity: OT Evidence for a Multi-Personal God http://www.answeringislam.net/God/echad.html
Rabbinic Judaism and the Plurality of God https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/21/rabbinic-judaism-and-the-plurality-of-god/
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