Rodney L. Smith
First of all, if you believe that God is one but 3 at the same time, then you believe something not revealed in the Bible. In the entire Old Testament revelation there is not more than one personal being that is God. This God sometimes appears as an Angel, a Man, or in an object such as fire (for example, the burning bush) or wind (the whirlwind in Job). Even Trinitarian Systematic Theology textbooks begin with God’s attribute of “personality,” that is, the fact that he is a personal being. Then later, they argue that he is tri-personal. In the New Testament, you can see a maximum of two beings or persons communicating with one another—Jesus and the Father, and this only occurs during the earthly, human life of Jesus. This concept is very important, and we will return to it shortly. Thus, there is no triune God taught in the Bible, not in the Old Testament, and not in the New Testament either.
There is only one God, the Spirit, and the Man Jesus Christ who is revealed to be God come in human form, i.e. the flesh. He reveals this to his disciples, and his disciples teach this in their New Testament writings. If you think about the whole of biblical revelation, a Trinity is not revealed, but God’s oneness is emphasized and obvious. Trinitarianism postulates that there is a God who is revealed to be the Father, a Son who is revealed to be God, and a Holy Spirit who is revealed to be God. Jesus and the Father talk to and love one another. These are undeniable biblical truths which are clearly presented in Scripture. However, the Trinitarian would suggest that these true statements lead to the conclusion that Jesus and the Father are two distinct persons within the one God, and since you have two persons they say, adding a third person is no problem at all. This pretty much sums up what I have heard from the best-known trinitarian teachers. Standing in stark opposition to this claim, the Oneness explanation of these biblical truth statements is just as viable. In fact, I believe first of all that Oneness theology makes much better since both logically and biblically, and secondly that there are better and more biblical proofs for Oneness which make trinitarianism impossible. I will discuss these as I answer your questions, but I will begin with one preliminary point here before getting into your questions.
God is revealed as a singular, personal being in the Scriptures. At least in the Old Testament, the singularity of God is stressed, and his personality is obviously revealed. God created man (all humankind) in his own image, and when he did this, he made only one man, Adam. Adam was one, singular, uni-personal, person who was both one man and one person. Since God made mankind in his own image, and he did so by creating only one, uni-personal man, then it follows that God is only one person. Eve was not made until some time after Adam had named every animal on earth. Even then, she was not directly created from the dust of the ground but was taken out of Adam, and was a copy of the one man. Therefore, Eve was made after the image of Adam who was made in the image of God. This in no way takes away from the fact that Eve bears the image of God herself. Paul taught this in 1 Corinthians 11:7-8. Eve was a copy of Adam, who was a copy of God, and all children born after them are copies of Adam and Eve. Therefore, since Eve and every human born from her are copies of Adam, who was directly fashioned after God’s own image, then all human beings are made after God’s image and likeness.
Here we are looking only at the term “image.” Some postulate that the phrase “image of God” suggests that we are like God in that we are autonomous beings, creative beings, spiritual beings, etc. This refers not to “image” but “likeness.” Biblically, “image” always refers to a physical or visual representation. God, who came to earth as a human being, Jesus Christ, was an invisible Spirit and had no visible image, but he created Adam according to the image that he would take 4,000 years later when he would come to earth and be born as Jesus Christ. This is the only way “God made man in his own image” makes any logical since. Trinitarian theologians still cannot pinpoint what “in the image of God” really means. Their attempted answers in print and so forth are many, but they are consistently unsatisfactory. I believe that my answer makes perfect sense. Don’t you?
A quick word about logic. If you know anything about apologetics, you know that logic is an important proof that God exists. Logic is an unexplainable, immaterial thing that clearly exists. There is no naturalistic explanation for logic. The only logical, rational, reasonable explanation for the existence of logic is the existence of God. Something is “logical” because it is true or real, just as God is true and real. In other words, what is true, real, and logical is that which conforms to what God is. Since God is true, everything contrary to God’s truth is false, and since God is real, that is, he is the source of all reality, then everything contrary to God’s reality is fake or counterfeit. Since God is the source of logic, meaning that God makes perfect sense, then whatever is contrary to God is contrary to logic and either makes no sense at all or does not make perfect sense the way that God makes perfect sense. If something makes some sense but not perfect sense, let’s say 70% of it makes sense, then it is only 70% in conformity with God and, therefore, reality. The other 30% of this something is contrary to God and, therefore, opposed to reality, or false. An example of this would be mixing 30% lie with 70% truth in order to deceive someone, one of the devil’s favorite tricks. God is the only possible source of truth, reality, love, logic, and other immaterial, supernatural forces.