In my article "The Godhead Debate," I briefly explained the controversy between monotheism and trinitarianism within the various religions. Now, I am going to start explaining the doctrine of the Godhead in a series of articles. And the first piece of the puzzle we MUST come to grips with is what the term "Monotheism" really means in the view of the Godhead.
WHAT IS MONOTHEISM?
The word "monotheism" simply means the belief in the existence of one divine God; in the oneness of God. Monotheism comes from the Greek words; mono, meaning alone, single, one; and theos, meaning God. There are really only a few religions who claim a "one God" viewpoint, they are; Judaism, Oneness Christianity and Islam. The fundamental teaching is summed up in this verse...
Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT OF ONE GOD
As we mentioned above, the three major religion's that believe in monotheism is based on ONE DIVINE concept of God. And as you read through the Old Testament scriptures, they are saturated with verses such as these...
Deu 4:35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Isa 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Isa 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
If you were to interpret the concept of One God, just from the viewpoint of the Jews in the Old Testament, God's first people, you will never read where God is two or three persons. That is just a fundamental fact within Judaism. When the Old Testament was written; there was no knowledge of a Jesus, the New Testament or a church.
THE DANGER OF POLYTHEISM
The word Polytheism means, the doctrine of, or belief in more than one god or in many gods. The term comes from the Greek words poly ("many") and theoi ("gods"). Even though the "term" wasn't developed until the Roman Empire, the concept was widely known way back in time, even before the Law of Moses. It was prevalent among heathen nations, for they often would have multiple gods that they worshiped.
Within Judaism, if a Jew were to hold to the idea of multiple gods, they would often end up worshiping idols. And as you read the Old Testament, this often happened every time Israel fell away from worshiping the one true God. Their concept of God was strictly based on one divine Spirit of God, and to think anything else different would bring the judgment of God upon them; thus the danger in having the concept of multiple Gods.
It is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT that a person understands the basic fundamental concept of the one true God (monotheism). Not only did God Himself proclaim that He is One Lord, He also commanded them to ONLY worship Him, and Him alone.
Because of the propensity for man to create idols and hold to the concepts of multiple gods, the Lord constantly reminded Israel who He was and that failing to worship Him as the one true God would bring judgment down upon their heads.
Now, that we have established the fundamental concept of the One God teaching within the Old Testament scriptures only, we can now begin to look into the controversy and interpretation of the Godhead in more detail.