Text of Interest:
"For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily/' (Colossians 2:9).
What is the "Godhead?"
The word "godhead" is from the Greek theios which means "divinity, deity" (Moulton 193). The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word as "The essential and divine nature of God" (565). The divine nature of God is revealed as eternal (John 1:1ff), omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent (Jeremiah 23:23-24; 32:17). God is revealed to be Holy (Leviticus 11:44), perfect (Matthew 5:48), patient ( I l Pet. 3:9), merciful and comforting (Il 1 Corinthians 1:3). God is the essence of love ( l John 4:8) and peace (l 1 Corinthians 14:33).
Identity of the Godhead
The Bible tells us that we can identify with deity through the visible creation (Romans 1:19ff) and divine revelation (Galatians 1:11ff). God is identified, early in the pages of revelation, as a plurality of persons. Genesis 1:26 states, "And God said, let us make man in our image." Again, at Genesis 11:6-7 revelation states, "Jehovah said, . . . Come, let us go down, and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." Deity is thereby comprised of "us." Each part of the "us" shares in the glory of deity.
The "us" (godhead) is further defined in revelation as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father (John 5:18), Son (Matthew 1:23; John 20:28), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4) are revealed to be God. Each individual in the godhead is separate from the other. The Father is said to be greater than the Son (John 14:28). The Father is distinct from the Holy Spirit in that he sends him into the world so that His laws will be made known (John 16:13-16).
Furthermore the Father is the only one who knows when the end of all things shall be (see Matthew 24:36).
The Son, Jesus, was worshipped as deity (Matthew 2:2; 28:17; John 9:38). Jesus was distinct from the Father and Holy Spirit in that he had a will (Luke 22:42). The deity and individuality of the Holy Spirit is seen in the fact that he is eternal (Hebrews 9:4), has knowledge (l 1 Corinthians 2:9-11), a will (l 1 Corinthians 12:11), hears (John 16:13), is grieved (Eph. 4:30), and can be vexed (Isaiah 63:10). The work of the Father is delegating (John 3:16; 5:22). The work of the Son is the justification of mankind (Romans 5:1ff). The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal divine revelation (Il Pet. 1:21; John 16:13ff).
The Oneness of the Godhead
The Bible tells us that there is one God (Eph. 4:1ff). The apostle Paul wrote, "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him" (l 1 Corinthians 8:5-6). Many reject the idea of three individuals (i.e., The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in the godhead due to the fact that they cannot comprehend how that more than one person can be one. Seeing that three do not equal one it is an uncomprehendible idea to the erring. Others agree that there are three persons in the godhead yet explain it by saying, "This is a most incredible doctrine that is impossible for the human mind to understand."
Jesus unravels the mystery of three being one in the simplest terms. Jesus had prayed to the Father on behalf of the disciples. The purpose of the Lord's prayer was that believers would be sanctified by truth through the word of God (see John 17:14-19). Jesus then defines the plurality of one mystery by saying, "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me... I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one..." (John 17:21-23). A plurality of saints are one in the same manner that Jesus and the Father were one; i.e., by their mutual stand in truth. The oneness under consideration is unity that is produced when two or more share the same approach to divine revelation and man's soul (cf. Romans 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:10). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one in purpose yet three in person (Matthew 24:36).
John C. Robertson