The One True God

Hello everyone. Here at Deeper Waters, we’ve been going through the Bible wanting to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our look at John 17 which is known as the high priestly prayer. We’re going to be examining one verse tonight, John 17:3.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

If you’ve ever had an encounter with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll know that this is the verse that they pride themselves on. I don’t know how many Arians I’ve met that have used this verse and believed that quoting John 17:3 sealed the deal. I suggest before reading further you think back to the beginning of our study where I remarked on errors that are made by opponents of the Trinity even before they come to the text. If you need to ¬†look back, go ahead and do so.

Let us look at it this way:

Jesus is praying to the Father.

The Father is the only true God.

Therefore, Jesus cannot be the only true God.

There is a fault in the reasoning in this thinking in that it assumes that the only true God is one person. Therefore, the Arian reads the passage and sees that the Father is the only true God. Since the only true God is one person, Jesus is out.

This passage does not say that. Now if unipersonalism is correct, then their conclusion would follow. However, unipersonalism must be brought to this passage. It cannot be read into this passage. A legitimate question to ask would be “If the Father is the only true God, and if Jesus is a god (As JW’s claim), then does that mean that since there is only one true God, that Jesus would be a false god?”

It is my contention that the Father could say to the Son the same. The creeds speak of true God out of true God. Of course, none of the persons of the Trinity make-up the entirety of the Godhead, but each of them can be referred to as true God.

It is important to note that Jesus is tied into this. Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. He is the one who comes from the Father and bears the unique relationship with him in that he has first come from him as we saw in John 1:18, and he is now seen as having been sent from him. We know from the earlier passages that he will return to him.

Also important is to speak of the idea of eternal life. Knowing God is tied in together with knowing Jesus Christ. The only way you can know the Father is if you know the Son. If you deny the Son, you deny the Father. To deny the eternality of the Son is to deny the etrernality of the Father. He never became the Father. He has always been the Father just as the Son has always been the Son. We have life by being in right relation to him, by knowing him.

We shall continue looking at the rest of the text tomorrow, but for now, the Arian must back the assumption of unipersonalism.

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