Do Christians worship more than one G-d?

The medieval rabbi and doctor Maimonides famously set out thirteen articles of faith. that form the yardstick of Judaism to this day. These are taught and celebrated across the Jewish world.

We would expect that if Maimonides’ articles are true, they will be able to stand up to reason in the light of Scripture. Let’s take a closer look. The Lord declares “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:16) - and although it is a complex subject, that is what we shall do. 

Maimonides’ first article claims: “I believe with a true and perfect faith, that G-d is the Creator, Governor and preserver of all Creatures, that he did work all things, works as yet, and shall work for ever”. This is all very reasonable and consistent with Scripture, even to Christian ears. 

Then the second article continues: “I believe with a perfect faith, that G-d the Creator is one, and that the unity which is in him, is such as can be found in no other, who only, was, is, and shall be our G-d for everlasting.” 

Maimonides’ intention here is to stress the oneness of G-d over and against Christianity. Christians do believe that G-d’s unity can be found in no other. But Maimonides implies that Christians are polytheists who worship multiple gods. He conceives of G-d as an absolute unity, lacking any plurality at all. Is that correct? 

For decisive answers, we must turn to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the Word of G-d to man, and directly from G-d himself. They show us the nature of G-d’s oneness in great detail.

We read in Genesis 1:1 that G-d created the heaven and the earth, with the Hebrew word for G-d given as elohim. This same word elohim is also sometimes used to refer to many gods. In Exodus 18:11, Jehovah (for this is the name of G-d) is said to be greater than the gods - referring to those gods whom the Egyptians worshipped. Thus G-d is spoken of in the plural, yet the very next word after Elohim in Genesis 1:1 is bara. This word is a singular third-person verb, suggesting that G-d is indeed One. 

The plurality within G-d is developed later in Genesis 1:26

Genesis 1:26

 G-d says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"

The Hebrew word is tzilmenu, indicating ‘us’ - that is, alongside others. The rabbis tell us that this is speaking about the angels. But can this be the case? The angels cannot create, nor even have a hand in creation - rather, they are merely ministering spirits. 

The Lord Himself was the only one involved in the work of creation. He has declared “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone” (Isaiah 44:24), and again “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7), while the prophet asks “Hath not one G-d created us?” (Malachi 2:10). As G-d has declared He created all things alone, it is plain that the “us” and the “our” in the verse cannot refer to angels. The “us” must therefore belong to the G-dhead. 

When the prophet Isaiah sees the Lord in a vision, the Lord asks “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). The “us” here cannot be speaking about the one-person God that Maimonides argues for. Rather it must be referring to other persons within the G-dhead. We also read in Genesis of the Lord’s judgment against Sodom for her sins against him. As Sodom is punished with fire and brimstone, the Scriptures declares in Genesis 19:24

Genesis 19:24

“Then the LORD [Jehovah] rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD [Jehovah] out of heaven”

Who are these two separate LORDs? The LORD here rains fire down from heaven to earth. 

The concept of two Lords is developed in the Psalms: specifically Psalms 110 and 45. In Psalm 110, the Lord says to David’s Lord, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This is not referring to a mere mortal, and this Lord is the Lord of David. If he was merely a human king, David would not call him Lord. 

The divinity of this person is brought out further in Psalm 45:6-7, “Thy throne, O G-d, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore G-d, thy G-d, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” G-d is addressed as “Thou”, and his G-d is said to have anointed him. Thus, in this Psalm, G-d anoints a person who himself is also G-d . This royal person and Messiah who has a human nature, is therefore not a mere finite man, but rather G-d and man combined in one person. 

In Psalm 2 we learn that this heavenly king who would yet rule on earth would be opposed by the nations, and is the Son of G-d. This is clear from verses 6-7

Psalm 2: 6-7

“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

This Son of G-d, this holy King, is the Messiah. 

The oneness of G-d in Scripture makes sense only if we understand G-d the Father and G-d the Son to be one and the same G-d: different persons and identical in essence. The Holy Spirit also is G-d, and the third person of the G-dhead. By third, we do not mean third in rank or importance, simply third in order. We see the Holy Spirit’s participation in creation in Genesis 1:2 “And the Spirit of G-d moved on the face of the waters”. As we have established already, only G-d created anything. The Holy Spirit’s work in creation proves him to be G-d. 

His divinity is upheld in other passages too. Isaiah 48:16 reads “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord G-d, and his Spirit, hath sent me.” Messiah, who is speaking here, is clearly eternal. He is sent by the Lord G-d and his Spirit, who act as one to send Messiah, another way in which He is proved to be eternal. 

The unity of G-d is seen again in Messiah’s words in Isaiah 61:1

Isaiah 61:1

“The Spirit of the Lord G-d is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek"

These very words were spoken by Yeshua in a synagogue in Israel in Luke 4 during his earthly ministry. 

Since G-d is Three but also One or Triune, He cannot be One in the exact terms that Maimonides has argued for. The Tanakh bears witness that G-d’s oneness is one of essence, rather than personhood. We thus see that Christians are right to make the distinction that G-d is one in essence, and is a holy Trinity of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Clearly, Maimonides’ second article fails the test of Scripture. Rather than being helpful, Maimonides’ invention hinders us from understanding G-d’s truth. You really ought therefore to reject it and accept the truths of Scripture instead.

Bible - Tanach

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Maimonides was very wise, but undiluted truth comes from the Tanakh. Do you want the truth? Check out the FREE Delitzch version of the New Testament and discover the truth for yourself.

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