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The Lord: Jesus and the Father are One

Acts 9:3-5

Saul came near Damascus: and suddenly a light from heaven shined around him: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? And he said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus...'

The Christian tradition has long been a source of inspiration and guidance for believers seeking to deepen their understanding of and relationship with God. Central to this tradition is the belief in the unity of Jesus and the Father, a doctrine that has been the subject of much debate and controversy throughout the history of Christianity. Let us examine the underpinnings of this belief, drawing on key biblical passages and, by doing so, shed light on the profound implications of this doctrine for our understanding of God, Jesus, and the nature of reality itself.


The Biblical Foundation

We root the belief in the unity of Jesus and the Father in the teachings of Jesus himself, as recorded in the New Testament. In the Gospel of John, Jesus famously declares, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). Some often take this statement as a direct assertion of his divinity, as it implies a fundamental unity between Jesus and God. In the same Gospel, Jesus also claims, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), suggesting that his very presence and actions are a revelation of the divine reality and that to see Jesus is to see the Father Himself.

The foundational creed of Judaism, the Shema, found in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." is an obvious declaration of monotheism, emphasising the uniqueness and singularity of God. Jesus himself quotes the Shema in Mark 12:29, when asked about the greatest commandment. By affirming the Shema, Jesus aligns himself with the Jewish understanding of God's oneness. This passage is of great significance, as it shows Jesus' own adherence to monotheism and his recognition of the Father as the one true God.

One of the most significant biblical texts in relation to this are Matthew 28:19, in which Jesus commands His disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." While they often cited this verse as evidence for three persons, it supports the oneness of God, the singular "name" in the verse refers to the divine name of Jesus, and this shows the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not separate persons but different manifestations or titles of the one God revealed in Jesus Christ, this is subsequently reinforced by Acts 19:5: When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

These passages and others like them have been the subject of much debate among theologians and philosophers, who have sought to understand the precise nature of the unity between Jesus and the Father. Some have argued that Jesus is identical to the Father, while others have maintained that he is merely an emanation or manifestation of the divine reality. Still, others have proposed more nuanced accounts, seeking to balance the demands of both biblical fidelity and philosophical coherence. Evidently there is a difference between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they are not different people – they are Jesus in different locations: the Father in heaven, the Son on earth, and the Spirit in us. Colossians 2:9 For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.


Philosophical Implications

The belief in the unity of Jesus and the Father has significant implications for our understanding of reality itself. If Jesus is indeed one with the Father, then his life, teachings, and actions can be seen as a direct expression of the divine reality, revealing the very nature and character of God. This would mean that Jesus is not merely a prophet or moral exemplar, but the very embodiment of the divine presence in human form.

If Jesus and the Father are one, then the redemption and transformation that Jesus offers to his followers are not simply the result of his own human efforts or wisdom, but are instead grounded in the very power and authority of God. In this way, the unity of Jesus and the Father serves to underscore the radical nature of the Christian message, which promises not merely moral improvement or philosophical insight but a profound transformation of the very fabric of our being.

Objections and Rebuttal

Critics argue the Father is not the Son and that there are some examples of this being shown in the Bible, but when the ‘evidence’ for this is honestly scrutinised, their arguments fall away. There are no direct biblical references to Jesus not being the Father. They have inferred this from verses which have parabolic meaning. Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.


Baptism: One of the main instances is the baptism of Jesus, when the voice declared, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased”, and John saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove upon him.

The issue is that this overlooks God’s omnipresence, and He can inhabit both heaven and earth at the same time. Christians believe the Father is in heaven while the Holy Spirit lives with believers on earth. The Holy Spirit inhabits many followers at the same time and yet is still one. There are not millions of different Holy Spirits.

God's omnipresence is witnessed in various passages in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Psalms provide a vivid description of God's presence permeating all of creation. Psalm 139:7-10 asserts that there is no place where one can escape from God's presence: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

Similarly, the prophet Jeremiah (23:23-24) emphasises God's omnipresence: "Am I only a God nearby," declares the Lord, "and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord.


Prayer: The other instance is when Jesus gives prayers: Matthew 26:36,38 Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray over there’... Then he said to them, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death: wait here, and watch with me.’ Mark 14:37-39 And he came, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, you are asleep? Could you not watch for one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away, and prayed, and spoke the same words.

Reading these, we can see that rather than praying to another person, Jesus is in fact instructing the disciples on how they should pray, going ahead of them and then telling them to watch, and the crucial point is to note that he repeated those same words – why would he repeat the same thing when he previously said: Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions – it was not because he was praying to the Father, but was instructing the disciples on how to pray and they kept falling asleep and missed it, as we see yet again in Matthew 26:44: And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Jesus is quoted four times as saying, “Watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41, Mark 13:33, 14:38, Luke 21:36) – which suggests that he was showing prayer rather than praying to someone. This, again is shown in Luke 11:2, where Jesus demonstrated the Lord’s prayer: “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” This was clearly an instruction and not a prayer, as he opened “When you pray, say,”. Clearly, we have many examples of Jesus teaching prayer by demonstration.


God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: In the epistles, these are often include a salutation from the apostle Paul with “from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2), but this has many problems if it is to be interpreted that Paul is referring to two persons. First, God is the Lord, as described in 2 Samuel 22:32. For who is God, save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?

Second, many verses in the Bible describe God as a plurality of things (including the above in 2 Samuel), but this does not mean they are different individual Gods but the same one God being described in different ways. Is there a God the Lord and another God the Rock? No, they are the same. Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalm 118:14 The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. Exodus 4:5 That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. Are the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, three different Gods or the one God: Jesus? John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.



The belief in the unity of Jesus and the Father is a central tenet of the Christian devotional tradition, with deep roots in the biblical record and a long history of theological reflection. This is not a simple matter of interpretation or context but of study, belief and trust in God's words. By examining the philosophical underpinnings of this belief, we can gain a deeper appreciation for its profound implications for our understanding of God, Jesus, and the nature of reality itself.

The belief in the unity of Jesus and the Father is not merely an abstract theological or philosophical concept, but a living reality that has the power to shape our lives and our understanding of the world in which we live. By contemplating this unity, we can draw closer to the divine mystery at the heart of the Christian faith, and in doing so, find new depths of meaning, purpose, and hope.