God is probably more than three?

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Matthias

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My God is only one -> Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus Messiah. That will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my posts on the subject.

I came across a Christian yesterday who stated that God is probably more than three. No explanation for the belief was presented.

This is a highly unusual encounter for me but not unprecedented. I‘ve met and spoken extensively with another Christian who believes and teaches that God could be hundreds or thousands.

This thread isn’t about my God, nor is it about the Trinity (which by current policy cannot be discussed - pro or con - on Christianity Board). This thread is solely concerned with the proposition that “God is probably more than three”.

Are there any denominations within Christianity, past or present, which hold as part of their doctrine / teaching that God is probably more than three?

Is there any biblical support for the idea that God is probably more than three?

Finally, is there any support for the softened position that God is possibly more than three?
 
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amadeus

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Joh 10:30I and my Father are one.

Joh 17:11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Jas 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Was Jesus a righteous praying fervently? Might we become one with Jesus and with the Father making then the number greater than three... a Multiplicity rather than a Trinity?

1jo 3:2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 
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Matthias

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Joh 10:30I and my Father are one.

Joh 17:11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Jas 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Was Jesus a righteous praying fervently? Might we become one with Jesus and with the Father making then the number greater than three... a Multiplicity rather than a Trinity?

1jo 3:2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Thanks.

The question suggests to me that if / when believers become one with Jesus and with the Father then believers themselves also become God, making God a multiplicity greater than three.

Have I stated it correctly?

If not, please correct whatever I’ve gotten wrong.

If so, what do you think about it?

The person I encountered hasn’t elaborated on why he holds that belief so I don’t know if that is what he is thinking or not. Maybe he’ll let us know in this thread.

From my theological perspective, mortal human persons who are believers will become immortal human persons when Jesus returns but will never become God.
 

Matthias

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The only other person who I’ve met and spoken with at length who holds the belief that God could be more than three did so on the grounds that man is limited in his knowledge about God and therefore God hasn’t told man everything there is to know about how many he is; not on the proposition that some human beings have, or might one day, become God.

His was a personal belief. He attended a mainline Protestant Church that did not hold his private belief as their doctrine.

The only other persons I’ve encountered who have said that they believe God is more than three - and I haven’t met very many of them - have been very specific about how many and why they hold that belief -> Nine (Father, Son and seven Spirits).

Perhaps the man I encountered yesterday falls into one of these categories. Unless or until the person provides clarification / elaboration, I really couldn’t say one way or the other.
 

amadeus

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Thanks.

The question suggests to me that if / when believers become one with Jesus and with the Father then believers themselves also become God, making God a multiplicity greater than three.

Have I stated it correctly?

If not, please correct whatever I’ve gotten wrong.

If so, what do you think about it?

The person I encountered hasn’t elaborated on why he holds that belief so I don’t know if that is what he is thinking or not. Maybe he’ll let us know in this thread.

From my theological perspective, mortal human persons who are believers will become immortal human persons when Jesus returns but will never become God.
Neither do I believe that God is a Multiplicity, but... I am not a Trinitarian. Due to this I used these verses against people who insisted that John 10:30 established a Trinity. But... I am on the verge of discussing that which is not allowed here. I will say no more on that.

I have never met a person on any forum in more than 20 years on forums who believed God was a Multiplicity.
 
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lforrest

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There is the hateful false prophet who keeps slipping on here who believes God is seven spirits. FYI that belief is not why he is banned.

Thinking independently about that belief:

Isaiah 11:2 points to seven spirits that rest upon the Messiah. The book of Revelation further points to them being Spirits of God.
"The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord."

It comes down to are these Spirits actual persons or aspects of the one Spirit of God?

I'm inclined to believe both are possible because of the fluid nature of spirits.

God can grant us wisdom if we ask him for it, so how is that achieved? By the imparting of the Spirit of wisdom? Do the other spirits come with it always? Demonstratively no, there are many who are ignorant yet wise. And there are also intelligent fools.
 

BlessedPeace

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My God is only one -> Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus Messiah. That will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my posts on the subject.

I came across a Christian yesterday who stated that God is probably more than three. No explanation for the belief was presented.

This is a highly unusual encounter for me but not unprecedented. I‘ve met and spoken extensively with another Christian who believes and teaches that God could be hundreds or thousands.

This thread isn’t about my God, nor is it about the Trinity (which by current policy cannot be discussed - pro or con - on Christianity Board). This thread is solely concerned with the proposition that “God is probably more than three”.

Are there any denominations within Christianity, past or present, which hold as part of their doctrine / teaching that God is probably more than three?

Is there any biblical support for the idea that God is probably more than three?

Finally, is there any support for the softened position that God is possibly more than three?
Our NT follows the Old.

Jews were formerly polytheists during their Babylonian captivity and after.

If we pay attention to what Jesus teaches from time to time we will note he changes what the people of the OT were taught by God.

Most notably is the former eye for an eye rule. Jesus said that was to be overcome with the rule of turn the other cheek.

If we accept Jesus was the word (God) made flesh, it would seem odd that he'd change his mind regarding recriminations.

There are other examples of change or altering edicts as well.

I happened on an interesting teaching by a man who is an expert in scripture translation. He says the OT is not a text relating of nor to one God but multiple God's.

Elohim,he states, is often misunderstood as a name for the one God.

Feel free to see what you think.
 

Lambano

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Let's postulate that God created intelligent life on one of the billions of billions of inhabitable planets that statistically could/must exist in this universe.

Since fallen-ness seems to be a property of this universe, let's also postulate that they are fallen, as we are.

Let's then postulate that the Logos who became flesh and dwelt among us also became whatever the Rigellians or Alpha Centaurians are and dwelt among them. And each hypostasis of the Logos is a separate Person. Just speculating that God used the same pattern He used with us to save other intelligent but fallen beings.

Then God would indeed be a large (but finite) number of Persons with a single underlying essence.

(And technically, we're talking about a Quadrinity or higher, so we're not violating the rule against discussing the Trinity. Think Rita will buy that explanation? Nah. Me neither.)
 
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BlessedPeace

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Let's postulate that God created intelligent life on one of the billions of billions of inhabitable planets that statistically could/must exist in this universe.

Since fallen-ness seems to be a property of this universe, let's also postulate that they are fallen, as we are.

Let's then postulate that the Logos who became flesh and dwelt among us also became whatever the Rigellians or Alpha Centaurians are and dwelt among them. And each hypostasis of the Logos is a separate Person. Just speculating that God used the same pattern He used with us to save other intelligent but fallen beings.

Then God would indeed be a large (but finite) number of Persons with a single underlying essence.

(And technically, we're talking about a Quadrinity or higher, so we're not violating the rule against discussing the Trinity. Think Rita will buy that explanation? Nah. Me neither.)
Pessimist. :p

(Hides behind @Lambano and looks around for Rita. :Broadly: )
 

Pancho Frijoles

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Is there any biblical support for the idea that God is probably more than three?

Finally, is there any support for the softened position that God is possibly more than three?

My God is also only one.
But I guess that, since God manifests Himself through different Agents, and those Agents are like God himself interacting with mankind, we could say from a practical perspective that God is more than three: thirty, thirty thousand, maybe infinite in manifestations.

From a biblical perspective, consider the "Angel of Jehovah" of the Old Testament, which is often referred to as if he were God himself.
Consider as well that, from a practical perspective, everything we do to a vulnerable brother or sister we do it to Christ, and everything we do to Christ we do it to God. So, there is God manifested in every individual.
 
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Matthias

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My God is also only one.
But I guess that, since God manifests Himself through different Agents, and those Agents are like God himself interacting with mankind, we could say from a practical perspective that God is more than three: thirty, thirty thousand, maybe infinite in manifestations.

From a biblical perspective, consider the "Angel of Jehovah" of the Old Testament, which is often referred to as if he were God himself.
Consider as well that, from a practical perspective, everything we do to a vulnerable brother or sister we do it to Christ, and everything we do to Christ we do it to God. So, there is God manifested in every individual.

Hola. Love the name you chose this time. I had Mexican for supper.
 
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Karl Peters

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My God is only one -> Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus Messiah. That will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my posts on the subject.

I came across a Christian yesterday who stated that God is probably more than three. No explanation for the belief was presented.

This is a highly unusual encounter for me but not unprecedented. I‘ve met and spoken extensively with another Christian who believes and teaches that God could be hundreds or thousands.

This thread isn’t about my God, nor is it about the Trinity (which by current policy cannot be discussed - pro or con - on Christianity Board). This thread is solely concerned with the proposition that “God is probably more than three”.

Are there any denominations within Christianity, past or present, which hold as part of their doctrine / teaching that God is probably more than three?

Is there any biblical support for the idea that God is probably more than three?

Finally, is there any support for the softened position that God is possibly more than three?

Where the Scriptures say that God is One God, there is a misunderstanding of what that means!!!!!!!!!!!

In the average persons mind, a being said to be one means there are not two people. Yet we also have another meaning that we don't want to consider. We see it with the three musketeers where they say 'all for one and one for all'. In that story we have serveral people considering themselves to be one group working together.

And then if we read the Bible we have this idea cover, where a husband and wife are one.

Eph 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

And Paul even pointed out that he was talking about the Lord and His church.

Eph 5:32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

And then if we look at what Jesus prayed in the garden:

Jn 17:21,22 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

So as Jesus and Paul mentioned, we are to be one with Him like He is one with the Father, and it seems that is by us being in Him like He is in the Father, and that is called being "one"!!

So the conclusion that people tend to make about God being One God, is corrected in the Scriptures to mean Jesus being in the Father and the Father in Him, and we are to be one with Him in the same way, and if we are one with Him and He is one with the Father, then we do have God as being soooooooo much more that 3, in that sense!!!!! And that is according to the Scriptures and so if we are going to believe the Bible is right, then our understanding needs to change. After all there is something written about us being gods.

So let us look at this in a more practical sense:

The Lord had me working in a Christian healing ministry for five years. New He asks me to listen to Him, so when working in that ministry I paid special attention to listening to Him and doing what He asked me. He would give me various instructions, including how He even wanted me to pray in His name. As I did that I saw people get healed, even some incredible miracles!!

Now I, the person that I am, can not perform miracles, but God can and does. So when I listen to Him, did what He said, laid hands on people and prayed like asked, miracles happen, seemingly from my prayers, but they were really the prayers I was told to make. So in that sense I was one with God and the power of God was release, even through me - because often I felt power going through me into the person I was praying for.

Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

Now I am not God, but me; never-the-less I have felt power go through and out of me and into some I prayed for, so was I not one with the Lord at that time? It was kind of an 'all for one and one for all' type of moment was it not?

Now Jesus said He did and said only what the Father told Him, and we read that the Holy Spirit does not speak on His own, but as He hears He speaks, And the power of God seems to come through the Holy Spirit. And yet I have felt is flow through me, so at least at those moments was not the prayer Jesus made about us being one with Him like He was one with the Father fulfilled?

Therefore I think our understanding - that God being One God - is not actually the meaning meant in that statement. I believe it has more to do we us listening to the Lord and doing what he says so that we then are like and extension of Him, like an arm or body is and extension of a person. And is not the church supposed to be the body of Christ? If so, then we are all one with Jesus like He is one with the Father, and that through the Holy Spirit working with our spirit, right?

Of course, I am not perfect in my following God, like Jesus is, but at least at times I might actually qualified as being consider a god, and even one with the Lord my God, Jesus Christ. Ok - more often I am not like that, or at least it seems that way to me, but if God is moving in and through me, perhaps God is more that just One or Three, but perhaps even a great multitude like His church being His body?
 
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Pancho Frijoles

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Now I am not God, but me; never-the-less I have felt power go through and out of me and into some I prayed for, so was I not one with the Lord at that time? It was kind of an 'all for one and one for all' type of moment was it not?
Yes, Karl. Thanks for sharing such an uplifting experience.

To me, there are at least two meanings of "unity" or "oneness" in reference to religion.

  • One is theological or philosophical, and refers to God being unique in essence, not equal to anybody and anything else. Supreme and alone in His supremacy.
  • A second has to do with what I would call "practical unity": being so aligned in purpose, that two or more entities act as if they were one.

Jesus expects us to become one in love with each other, and one with Him and His Father. (John 17:21)
So, imagine billions of human beings becoming one among them and with God.
In fact, Jesus uses a powerful metaphor in the Book of Revelation, in that He will make us sit in his throne, as He has sat in God's throne.
So, the King shares His sovereignty with his subject citizens. Jesus shares his priesthood with these citizens.

Regarding this "practical" concept of unity and oneness, Paul says that in Christ all the fullness of God abides (Colossians 1:19), but Paul also says that he expects that fullness to abide in us (Ephesians 3:19)
 
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Karl Peters

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Yes, Karl. Thanks for sharing such an uplifting experience.

To me, there are at least two meanings of "unity" or "oneness" in reference to religion.

  • One is theological or philosophical, and refers to God being unique in essence, not equal to anybody and anything else. Supreme and alone in His supremacy.
  • A second has to do with what I would call "practical unity": being so aligned in purpose, that two or more entities act as if they were one.

Jesus expects us to become one in love with each other, and one with Him and His Father. (John 17:21)
So, imagine billions of human beings becoming one among them and with God.
In fact, Jesus uses a powerful metaphor in the Book of Revelation, in that He will make us sit in his throne, as He has sat in God's throne.
So, the King shares His sovereignty with his subject citizens. Jesus shares his priesthood with these citizens, so that we all share his priesthood.

Regarding this "practical" concept of unity and oneness, Paul says that in Christ all the fullness of God abides (Colossians 1:19), but Paul also says that he expects that fullness to abide in us (Ephesians 3:19)

Yes - nice post Pancho!!!

We of course are just people. Yet if we want Jesus Christ in our lives, He sends His Holy Spirit to interact with our spirit and thus us. So we become an arm of God, so to speak. So like Pancho wrote, God is a unique being, but He can work in and with us, bring a "practical unity", like Pancho also writes. So there is a oneness discussed in the Bible, and the purpose of us proclaiming God is One God is to emphasize the importance of us being open to God and letting have some control of our lives!

God being One, is not about Him being One person but it about us becoming one with Him!! And that purpose and understanding is what we miss because we lean on our own understanding instead of actually seeking Him and what He says to us personally!
 

ScottA

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My God is only one -> Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus Messiah. That will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my posts on the subject.

I came across a Christian yesterday who stated that God is probably more than three. No explanation for the belief was presented.

This is a highly unusual encounter for me but not unprecedented. I‘ve met and spoken extensively with another Christian who believes and teaches that God could be hundreds or thousands.

This thread isn’t about my God, nor is it about the Trinity (which by current policy cannot be discussed - pro or con - on Christianity Board). This thread is solely concerned with the proposition that “God is probably more than three”.

Are there any denominations within Christianity, past or present, which hold as part of their doctrine / teaching that God is probably more than three?

Is there any biblical support for the idea that God is probably more than three?

Finally, is there any support for the softened position that God is possibly more than three?

God is One God, but is biblically known by many Names.
 

Pancho Frijoles

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Yes - nice post Pancho!!!

We of course are just people. Yet if we want Jesus Christ in our lives, He sends His Holy Spirit to interact with our spirit and thus us. So we become an arm of God, so to speak. So like Pancho wrote, God is a unique being, but He can work in and with us, bring a "practical unity", like Pancho also writes. So there is a oneness discussed in the Bible, and the purpose of us proclaiming God is One God is to emphasize the importance of us being open to God and letting have some control of our lives!

God being One, is not about Him being One person but it about us becoming one with Him!! And that purpose and understanding is what we miss because we lean on our own understanding instead of actually seeking Him and what He says to us personally!
Indeed, Karl.

I think that if believers spent more time in listening to each other, helping each other and working as one, instead of debating the theological aspects of the oneness of God, Christ would be more pleased. After all, this was his concern, this was what He prayed for...

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11)
 
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ScottA

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Isaiah 11:2 points to seven spirits that rest upon the Messiah. The book of Revelation further points to them being Spirits of God.
"The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord."

It comes down to are these Spirits actual persons or aspects of the one Spirit of God?

I'm inclined to believe both are possible because of the fluid nature of spirits.

God can grant us wisdom if we ask him for it, so how is that achieved? By the imparting of the Spirit of wisdom? Do the other spirits come with it always? Demonstratively no, there are many who are ignorant yet wise. And there are also intelligent fools.

This describes the gifts of the Spirit (rather than each being a different Spirit or person). Which God gives as He pleases according to His purpose.

Each ray of Light leads back to God.
 
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Pancho Frijoles

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When Paul was preaching to the people from Athens, he made a statement about God that I find so deep that I won't never be able to aprehend: For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)

These are my two cents, for what is worth:

God is not a multiplicity, but One.
We, from our human perspective, see ourselves as a multiplicity, and since we "live, move and have our being" in God. It is like if God would manifest in each one of us.

To me it is like the sea.
You stand in front of the ocean and perceive
one sea.
But that sea has billions of beings, which have their own distinct identity (fish, algae, whales, shrimp, bacteria). None of them is the sea. There is not a multiplicity of seas. However, all of them "live, move and have their being" in the sea. If any of these marine beings would want to jump and live out of the sea, they would certainly die. They can only live and meet their purpose in the sea.
So God does not want us to jump out of the sea ( to try to live a life in sin.. a life separated from God).
He wants us to return to the ecosystem when we are connected to all other living things and with the Eternal and One Sea.

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amadeus

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When Paul was preaching to the people from Athens, he made a statement about God that I find so deep that I won't never be able to aprehend: For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)

These are my two cents, for what is worth:

God is not a multiplicity, but One.
We, from our human perspective, see ourselves as a multiplicity, and since we "live, move and have our being" in God. It is like if God would manifest in each one of us.

To me it is like the sea.
You stand in front of the ocean and perceive
one sea.
But that sea has billions of beings, which have their own distinct identity (fish, algae, whales, shrimp, bacteria). None of them is the sea. There is not a multiplicity of seas. However, all of them "live, move and have their being" in the sea. If any of these marine beings would want to jump and live out of the sea, they would certainly die. They can only live and meet their purpose in the sea.
So God does not want us to jump out of the sea ( to try to live a life in sin.. a life separated from God).
He wants us to return to the ecosystem when we are connected to all other living things and with the Eternal and One Sea.
Is not the sea for man a place of death? Jesus walked on water and for a moment or two Peter walked on water approaching Jesus. Should we not want to similarly put all of the dead things [dead to God] beneath our feet and keep them there?

Mt 14:29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
Mt 14:30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
Mt 14:31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Why do we doubt? Consider the other water, the living water, that Jesus offers here:

Joh 4:10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
And then...

Joh 7:38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
If we walk on the dead water in which the dead thing move about and we drink of the living water Jesus offers, how much like Him will we be...?
1jo 3:2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
What are we seeing now?