2 February 2003
Deuteronomy 6:4 & Jeremiah 10:10
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 5. Are there more gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.5. Is there more than one God?
A. There is only one, the living and true God.
1. What proofs can we offer that there is only one true and living God?
We can offer proof from Scripture as it says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deut. 6:4) We can offer proof from reason since there can be only one first cause and ultimate end of all things. Scripture is logical when it states as the first verse: “In the beginning, God...” Many have called this one of the most important verses of the Bible.
2. Why not begin our study of God with the Trinity?
We begin with God since this is the method the Scripture uses. The Bible presents first the truth of the one true and living God and then proceeds to unfold the mystery of the Trinity.
3. What does it mean when it says “one only” in this Question?
The teaching here does not deny the fact of the Trinity or the deity of Christ or the Holy Spirit. It rather points out that absolutely none other person or being shares the attributes of the “one only” true God. He cannot be compared to anything else in the entire universe, all of which He alone created and governs.
4. What may we learn from this truth?
We may learn to recognise Him as Almighty and Sovereign. Our attention is thereby called to the fact that there is only One Supreme Being, Maker, Designer and Lawgiver of the world and that He is the only One.
5. What do we call the doctrine of one God?
This teaching is called “Monotheism” in opposition to Polytheism“, the teaching that there are many gods. The pagan world is Polytheistic. In contrast to this, Paul says, ” we know than an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one." (1 Cor. 8:4b)
6. What is the meaning of the word “living” in this Question?
The word “living” emphasises that He alone has life in Himself and is therefore the Fountain of life to all His creatures. Dr. William Childs Robinson points out that “He calls Himself the LIVING God. Our Lord Jesus speaks of God as the LIVING Father, Peter confesses the Saviour as the Son of the LIVING God, Paul calls the Church the Church of the LIVING God and believers the children of the LIVING God.” He further states that “He has life in and of Himself and He gives life to everything else.”