Upon discussing the relationship of Father and Son (the Trinity) with a Jehovah's Witness today; they disagreed (of course) with the understanding that the Trinity doctrine holds the Father and Son as One, but separate.

They quoted that the bible teaches that husband and wife become "one" and that this should be the way we view the relationship between Father and Son.

My question is; what is the biblical basis of explaining this and thus defending the Trinitarian doctrine against this interpretation? I am specifically interested in the argument of the husband and wife "oneness" thing posed to me today by JW's as an apparent way to explain the oneness of God thus opposing the Trinitarian viewpoint.

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    If I'm understanding correctly, the defender of trinitarianism would have to concede that "oneness" in the Bible can refer to more than one thing, and would thus have to argue from the entire Bible that the "oneness" of the Father and Son is best described using the idea of the Trinity. So ultimately the trinitarian responds with the overall biblical basis for the view. Do you see how this question can thus seem like a duplicate of the general "biblical basis for the Trinity" question? Can you think of a way to distinguish it further? Jan 27, 2017 at 21:52
  • @Nathaniel I see what your saying yes. and the link question is very good. I was specifically interested in the argument of the husband and wife oneness thing posed to me today by JW's. feel free to edit to make it work :)
    – David
    Jan 27, 2017 at 21:58
  • @KorvinStarmast go on Korv, have a go answering ;)
    – David
    Jan 27, 2017 at 22:40
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    The JW has the onus of offering support of his claim that the relationship between the Father and Son is like that of a husband and wife, because the NT teaches directly that the relationship between the Son and the Church is like a husband and wife. There are numerous and exhaustive defenses of the doctrine of the trinity available for him to read at his leisure.
    – Andrew
    Jan 27, 2017 at 23:39
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    @kris "for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church." I can address an objection in chat, at which time I will delete this chatty comment
    – Andrew
    Jan 28, 2017 at 1:25

5 Answers 5


According to Genesis, a husband and wife become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Since God is spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), it is unclear how this Scripture fits their argument.

Furthermore, Scripture witnesses to the Divine Trinity in many other places. For example:

Matthew 28:19

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

2 Corinthians 13:14

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

John 15:26

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me

1 John 5:7

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

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    Probably shouldn't bring up 1 John 5:7 to a JW. They are all most certainly aware that this verse was inserted by trinitarians and not original.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 27, 2017 at 22:13
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    @KorvinStarmast 1 John 5:7 is widely considered to have been inserted in the fifth century - after the Nicene Creed was formulated, and to provide biblical support for it. Anon is right to say that should not be brought up in an argument with JWs. Jan 27, 2017 at 22:36
  • @DickHarfield I've read your answer to the question on that verse, however, I've within the past 48 hours seen something here with a different take ... I'll find it if I can figure which question it was in my browser history. Jan 27, 2017 at 22:38
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    Apart from 1 John 5:7, which is disputed, how does this answer support belief in the Trinity? The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are mentioned, but not by saying they are one, the Holy Trinity. Jan 27, 2017 at 22:38
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    @4castle Trinitarians have no problem using the convention God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, it's preferred. See the Nicene Creed. It's what we mean by Jesus is the Son of God. Do we believe the Jews took Son of God to mean Jeus was claiming to be God, for some strange reason otherwise than His lofty claims to be the I am etc? Jun 23, 2018 at 11:11

Another option would be to explain that the 'oneness' of husband and wife IS a perfect example of Trinity.

Both are equal in their humanity. Both have different roles IN the marriage. Certainly, a single man and a single woman do not have those same roles when they are not married. Yet, they are one unit - which is the meaning of the word "one" in the Hebrew. It is also used of a clump of grapes, i.e. one clump.

As such, though we may see 2 persons living in their separate bodies, they are in fact ONE family, one entity as it were. When they produce an offspring, the child is also part of the ONE family/ONE entity. The child is also equally human in nature, yet possesses a different role than the other 2.

Ta da. We have a trinity.

Furthermore, even in the tragedy of parental separation or divorce, GOD still sees that family as one unit, one entity. He is the one that says except for cases of infidelity a husband and wife are one flesh. Though our human eyes see a separation of the one, God does not.

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    JWs agree with your understanding of the relationship between the Father and Son. They are literally one family, and each has a different role. However, they disagree because they believe the Father's role is God, and the Son's role is Archangel (as well as several other roles).
    – user32540
    Dec 23, 2017 at 18:08
  • In reality, the JWs, i think, disagree because they see only the 2 individuals and not the one family as a single entity. That's where the distinction lies.
    – Jevae
    Dec 24, 2017 at 18:13
  • When you comment to a specific person use @4castle
    – Kris
    Dec 27, 2017 at 2:14

Husband and wife become "one" only in the same way light, heat and other things come together to constitute the one flame, yet are distinct. The husband and the wife are still distinct. Just as the Sender and the Sent are distinct from one another, by definition.

Analogously, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are most certainly distinct in Scripture (e.g. one sends the other; submits their human will to the other, in the case of Jesus Christ; one recieves revelation or truth from one and conveys it to us, etc.). Yet if there is only one God (inarguably the teaching of the Old and New Testaments), then quite clearly these Persons (for they will and can be sinned against unto damnation, and speak messages, and make commands, and know all things, etc.) must somehow—God being ineffable—be one and the same God.

It is a logical fallacy (and thus an insufferable falsehood) to conflate two things in union with one another: union implies distinction in the first place (else what two things are in union?)

Unitarians who claim 'echad' (one in Hebrew) in fact means 'Unitarian' or 'Unipersonal' rob it of its clear context: a counter to the idea of polytheism (or, many-God-ism).

There are a few fundamental meanings for the word 'one:' one as in family (kinship, familial relationship); one in purpose, or agreement; or one as in an abacus (one counter, not two counters, etc.).

Which of these do they say God meant He is "one"? Clearly in the context it was said, it was a repudiation of idolatry, or polythiesm, or henotheism (YHVH, but others on the side, too).

We see Trinitarian formulae all over Scripture, e.g:

Matthew 28:19 (DRB)

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

1 Peter 1:2 (DRB)

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.

They make God a ventriloquist, claiming Jesus was not talking to His Father, but Himself on the Cross, or saying He was one with Himself, instead of with the Father. Saying He came forth from Himself and into the world, instead of came forth from God, and thus is God. That He has Himself for His own Father, instead of He has God for His Father.

It is absolutely ludicrous, and, as said, a fallacy, to claim that the husband and wife are literally one person.

  • I'm not sure if you've misunderstood Unitarianism or the illustration of the husband and wife. JWs agree with your final statement, and they don't claim any of the things in your paragraph about the "ventriloquist."
    – user32540
    Dec 23, 2017 at 18:04
  • If it isn't three Persons one God, what is it, precisely, that they teach about the Persons of the Trinity? I believe I understood the illustration just fine, since they cited "They quoted that the bible teaches that husband and wife become "one" and that this should be the way we view the relationship between Father and Son" as an argument against the Trinity: implying that the oneness is something other than nature (Unitarianism?) Dec 23, 2017 at 19:06
  • It is three Persons one God, but only the Father possesses Godship. The Son doesn't share in that Godship, just as a wife or child wouldn't share in the responsibilities of headship that a husband has over his family. 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 shows us that Jesus is in subjection to God and John 14:28 is where Jesus says that the Father is "greater than I am." Jesus always claims to be submissive to God, not equal or part of God.
    – user32540
    Dec 23, 2017 at 19:21
  • Correction: two Persons. A discussion of the personage of the holy spirit is perhaps a separate conversation.
    – user32540
    Dec 23, 2017 at 19:28
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    JWs believe that Father and Son are two completely distinct separate beings and that when Jesus spoke with his Father he was speaking to a separate being. For this reason the following paragraph is also not factually correct: "They make God a ventriloquist, claiming Jesus was not talking to His Father, but Himself on the Cross, or saying He was one with Himself, instead of with the Father..." In fact JWs would say that it is Trinitarians who have Jesus speaking to himself (because Trinitarians claim that Jesus and God are one and same being).
    – user19845
    Dec 23, 2017 at 21:02

Open the Bible up to Matthew 22:30, and show him that in heaven there is no marriage. Therefore the eternal oneness between the Father and Son is entirely different than the "one flesh" described in the institution of marriage.

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matt 22:30)

More importantly make sure you go with the permission of the Holy Spirit, because it is not by logic or eloquence that the heart is reached, but by the Spirit of God.

Finally, the mystery of redeeming love is something that angels desire to look into (1 Peter 1:10-12). None but God is capable of the the ultimate demonstration of self-sacrificing love at the cross. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known.

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    The witness isn't saying the Father and Son are married, they're saying marriage is a physical analogy for the spiritual oneness enjoyed by the Father and Son. It's like how Trinitarians sometimes use the analogy of an egg to describe the Trinity, and yet physical eggs obviously don't exist in the spirit realm.
    – user32540
    Nov 10, 2017 at 17:54

The Father which is the "Holy Spirit" for God is Holy and a Spirit, dwels IN the Son Jesus!!! Ephesians 4:4 there is one spirit and one body!!! One faith, one Lord one baptism, of the Father, the Holy Ghost!!! Acts 2:38. The godhead or godhood, singular deity, the Holy Ghost, the Father, dwels in the Son!!! There are just 2, "two", the Father which is invisible and cannot be seen dwels in the Son. When you see God, you see Jesus. Not because Jesus is God, but because he is the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15, Luke 3:22 tells us God was in the world when he manifested in his Son Jesus!!! There is only one on the throne and that is Christ Jesus. Matthew 28:19 baptize in Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Well, read the book of acts, and count how many were baptized in titles. No one ever baptized anyone in those titles, for there is no remission/ pardon of sin in any other name than Jesus Christ!! You repent be baptized in Jesus name for remission of sin and get hands laid on and receive the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38, acts 19 with speaking in tongues as evidence, Amen!! Then you will fulfill John 3:5 born of water and of the Spirit!!!

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