Is God One Person or More than One Person ?
Lets Look at the Prayers of Christ (God).
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of THE FATHER,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-2,14)
The "Oneness" Pentecostals hold to the ancient anti-Trinitarian heresy known as "Modalism" or "Sabellianism" (after the third century heretic Sabellius) or "Monarchianism" (Greek for "One Ruler") -- that God is but One divine Person (not Three), and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mere titles or modes, not distinct Persons within the nature of God. Of course, when we see instances in the Bible where Jesus prays to the Father, we naturally wonder how this can be if they are they same person. But, according to Oneness theology, Jesus was praying to the Father, the true divinity though it was Jesus the man who was praying. But, how can this be? Was Jesus praying to Himself (since God is only one person) and making it appear that He was praying to someone else?
Oneness theology correctly states that Jesus has two natures. He was both God and man while He walked this earth. But it states that the human part of Jesus was praying to the divine essence of God as the Father. What they do is divide Jesus into two parts and have the human nature address the divine nature.
The problem with this is that it threatens the incarnation of the Word made flesh as a complete and single person. Jesus was both God and man in one person. He had a will. He ate. He slept, etc. He was a man. He needed to be a human in order to bear the sins of people. Scripture repeatedly calls Christ the "Son of man".
Matthew 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8; 12:32; 12:40; 13:37; 13:41; 16:13; 16:27; 16:28; 17:9; 17:12; 17:22 18:11; 19:28; 20:18; 20:28; 24:30; 24: 37; 24:39; 24:44; 25:13; 25:31; 26:2; 26:24; 26:45; 26:64;
Mark 2:10; 2:28; 8:31; 8:38; 9:31; 10:33; 10:45; 13:26; 13:34; 14:21; 14:41; 14:62;
Luke 5:24; 6:5; 6:22; 7:34; 9:22; 9:26; 9:44; 9:56; 9:58; 11:30; 12:8; 12:10; 12:40; 17:22; 17:24; 17:26; 17:30; 18:8; 18:31; 19:10; 21:27; 21:36; 22:22; 22:48; 22:69; 24:7;
John 1:51; 3:13; 3:14; 5:27; 6:27; 6:53; 6:62; 8:28; 12:23; 12:34; 13:31;
Hebrews 2:6 (Note: here we have St. Paul himself calling Christ "Son of Man"for more testimony from St. Paul on the humanity of Christ read Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 2:14-16)
He needed to be God in order to offer a sacrifice to God the Father sufficient to cleanse us of our sins. No mere man could do this. But the fact is, Jesus was one person -- and still is. Jesus is still God and man. Col. 2:9 states that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Note, the verse says "dwells", not dwelt. Dwells is in the present tense, not the past. Therefore, in Jesus, right now, dwells the fullness of the Godhead Jesus was both God and man at the same time in the form of a single person.
The Oneness explanation risks the error of Nestorianism which stated that Jesus was two separate persons: a human person and a divine person in the form of one man. No where in the Bible does it state that Jesus was two persons. Rather, we find scriptures where Jesus refers to Himself as "I" and "Me" and "mine" not "us" or "our." The Oneness position is simply in error.
Jesus was not praying to Himself. We see in Scripture, Jesus praying to the Father (John 17). We see Him addressing another person who is called God. We see Jesus saying, "Not my will, but your will be done" (Matthew 26:39,42,44, Mark 14:35-36,39, Luke 22:41-42) when He address God the Father. In other words, they had separate wills -- at the same time. He was not praying to Himself, or an extension of Himself, of a part of Himself. He was praying to the person of the Father. In the gospel of St. John alone God is called "father" (Gk. "Pater") 120 times, most of these references are found in the sayings and prayers of Jesus Christ. We also find Jesus Christ declaring he is going to be with the Father (John 14:12, 28, 16:10, 17:5; one office of a Person cannot go to be with another office of that Person), and say that the two of them will send the Holy Spirit while they remain in heaven (John 14:17, 26, 15:26, 16:13-15; Acts 2:32-33).
Furthermore, according to Oneness theology, Jesus would have had to exist at the same time as the Father if Jesus the man was praying to the Father. If this is so and Jesus was addressing the Father, then we have two simultaneous persons. But in Oneness theology, this is a problem since God is only one person who occupies consecutive modes. How then could the "mode" of the Father and the "mode" of the Son be in existence at the same time if Oneness theology is correct? They cannot, which is another reason why Oneness theology is wrong.
The following questions are not "stoppers." That is, they are not questions to ask Oneness people so you can "stump them for sure." Instead, they are questions to ask to generate conversation. It is during the conversation that real witnessing occurs.
Of course, I have found some of these questions to be more difficult than others for the Oneness person to adequately answer. In fact, two of them no Oneness Person has adequately answered at all. Which are they? Try them out.
Is Jesus His own Father?
If Jesus' will and the Father's will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup but resigns Himself not to His own will, but the will of the Father?
Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?
If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then isn't He still praying to Himself?
Why was Jesus not saying, "Not My will, but My will be done?" if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in Luke 22:42 & Matt. 26:39.
Since the Bible teaches us that Jesus is in bodily form now (Col. 2:9), then how then does the Oneness Pentecostal person maintain that God is in the form of the Holy Spirit? Also, when Jesus returns, will He return in His body? Will God's form then revert to the form of the Son at a later date?
If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, "we" and "our"?
Oneness theology teaches that God was in the mode of the Father in the Old Testament. God was seen in the OT (not as a vision or a dream or an angel in the following verses: Exo. 6:2-3; Gen. 19:24; Num. 12:6-8). But, Jesus said no one has seen the Father (John 6:46). If they were seeing God Almighty (Exo. 6:2-3) but it wasn't the Father, then who was it?
THE PRAYERS OF CHRIST
Matthew 26:53. Thinkest thou that I cannot now PRAY to my FATHER, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
John 11:41-44 "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, FATHER, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth..."
Matthew 26:39,42,44"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O MY FATHER, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt... He went away again the second time, and PRAYED, saying, O my FATHER, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done...And he left them, and went away again, and PRAYED the third time, saying the same words."
Mark 14:35-36,39. "And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and PRAYED that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ABBA, FATHER, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt... And again he went away, and PRAYED, and spake the same words."
Luke 22:41-42. " And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and PRAYED, Saying, FATHER, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
John 17:1-26. "THESE WORDS SPAKE JESUS, AND LIFTED UP HIS EYES TO HEAVEN, and said, FATHER, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O FATHER, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested THY NAME unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I PRAY for them: I PRAY not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And 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. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in THY NAME: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I PRAY not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither PRAY I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, FATHER, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. FATHER, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O RIGHTEOUS FATHER, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them THY NAME, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Matthew 11:25-27. " At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O FATHER, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, FATHER: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my FATHER: and no man knoweth the Son, but the FATHER; neither knoweth any man the FATHER, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
Matthew 6: 9. " After this manner therefore pray ye: OUR FATHER which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."