If the Father is the only God who is True, than what type of godhood is the 2nd person of the trinity?

John 17:3 (Jesus speaking to his God and Father)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

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    This question seems to have been adequately covered by at least two earlier questions (one of which is your own).
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 28, 2023 at 6:38
  • @curiousdannii Can you please clarify how this q is like the others? I don't see it. Especially with my logic question. The other one is asking for a general interpretation. I am questioning that interpretation in closer detail. Same verse different question entirely. Jun 28, 2023 at 6:46
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    Alright, I guess it's different. But note that the question "what type of godhood" doesn't really make sense to Trinitarians. There aren't different types of gods in Trinitarianism.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 28, 2023 at 6:53
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    @curiousdannii Thank you. I'm hoping to get some answers that clarify this. Jun 28, 2023 at 6:58
  • @ReadLessPrayMore what is a "type of godhood?" I don't know what that means.
    – jaredad7
    Aug 4, 2023 at 16:32

3 Answers 3


The Athanasiun creed states it rather nice, in my opinion, almost poetic in its wording, and correct in at least my (catholic) faith:

And the Catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Yes, the teachings on the Trinity sound illogical from time to time, and I can fully understand how and why people who do not share this faith, can find words in holy Scripture, put them trough the test of logic and think they fail. But the problem is the use of presumptions. One presumption a “trinitarian” will make is something like “what the Athanasiun creed states about the Trinity is fact”.

So, for a trinitarian your question is as easy to answer as it will be unacceptable to you, possibly: “the same type of godhood, as it is the same God”.

The Father is the only true God, indeed. So what is the Son then? Well, He is the only true God. And should you wish to know who the Holy Spirit might be, He is the only true God. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are the one true God. Not three gods of different godhood-types, but one God.

Does that sound dumb, illogical, impossible to accept? I can understand how it would. Nevertheless, it is what we believe to be true.

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    One Divine (and indivisible) nature (eternal, spirit and fulness) shared by three distinct Persons. Thus not, agreed, 'three gods' but one : Father and Son in the unity of one Holy Spirit. As made abundantly clear in the documents of Nicea seventeen hundred years ago. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 28, 2023 at 11:58
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    I see. I was hoping for a better explanation of Jesus' godhood. Not only is this answer completely illogical but relies solely on extra biblical writings to deny the clear words of Jesus. Jesus says there is 1 True God AND that this 1 God is someone other than himself. Jun 28, 2023 at 15:01
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    :) I know, if you are not asking an open question, but in fact your question is a statement of your conviction, no answer will satisfy. You demand your logic, your presumptions, and then complain that I do not follow your rules. I am sorry for you, but you wanted an answer, and this is it.
    – ABM K
    Jun 28, 2023 at 15:12
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    @ReadLessPrayMore You asked for the 'Trinitarian interpretation. That interpretation is not in scripure. It is in the documents associated with Nicea. These documents are 'extra biblical writings' and that is exactly what your question requested.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:03
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    @ReadLessPrayMore Jesus does not say 'There is one true God and that this one God is someone other than himself'. He does not utter such words. Deity is a matter of nature . That one nature (one true Deity) is shared by more than one person.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:07

. . . . the Trinitarian interpretation of John 17:3.

In order to express the Trinitarian Interpretation (of holy scripture) I must, perforce, quote from 'extra biblical writings'.

I can repeat many scriptures, but that would not answer the question which is about an interpretation of scripture.

Jesus speaks, out of his own humanity, to Deity.

And he speaks to the Father.

Addressing the Father he calls him 'one true Deity' (for the word Theos can bear such a meaning, a collective noun).

It is also true that the Son shares the same divine nature as the Father.

(This is the answer to the question about 'type'.)

Thus it could also be said of Jesus Christ that he also is 'one true Deity'. This is a matter of divine nature, shared by more than one person.

This nature is eternal, uncreated, and is a matter of spirit, John 4:24, and of fulness, Colossians 2:9.

The fulness can only be shared by being perfectly at one (in One Spirit). It is thus indivisible. And thus it is one true Deity.

In humanity, addressing the Father , Jesus of Nazareth addresses the Father as 'one true Deity'.

These truths are not self-excluding.

Several truths must be borne in mind and context must be noted in order to perceive which truths are being emphasised.

All of this is made plain in the documents associated with the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and 787 A.D..

All of which is summed up in the Athanasian Creed and also the previous Nicene Creed (see below).

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; Being of one Substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And He shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic* and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

  • When we will be like the Risen Son at the resurrection at the of this age.... will we also be 1 True Deity? Jun 28, 2023 at 23:30
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    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 29, 2023 at 6:22
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    Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 29, 2023 at 6:23
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    That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: John 17:21.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 29, 2023 at 6:24
  • If YHWH = divine nature/deity, then we will all be YHWH in the age to come, eh? I've never heard this before. Is this common trinitarian belief? You literally just shared verses that say we will be sons of God, Not God Himself. godhood not godhead Jun 29, 2023 at 17:21

As with all good Bible exegesis, you have to bring in RELATED verses especially when it is in the same book (Gospel of John) and when the words are spoken by the same person or about the same person (Jesus) :

  • John 1:14: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jesus is full of grace and truth)
  • John 4:24: God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth. (Worship in Spirit means worship in the Holy Spirit; worship in truth means worship in Jesus)
  • John 8:32: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (We see the image of God in Jesus, so we know God by knowing Jesus. Jesus will set us free by letting the spirit of Jesus sanctifies us from bondage)
  • John 14:6: Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (It's very clear here that Jesus = Truth. How can a person be a truth? Isn't truth is simply a logical value signifying corresponding to reality? No. Unlike in modern philosophy, truth CAN be a person. In Trinitarian theology, God eternally generates truth in his mind, which is literally and precisely the Word (Logos) that becomes flesh, who is Jesus, literally God walking on the shores of Galilee and in Jerusalem and hanging on the cross.)
  • John 17:3: This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent - Jesus Christ.
  • John 18:38: "What is truth?" said Pilate. (The author of John must have had fun here, because the answer to Pilate's question is staring at him in the face).

Trinitarian theology takes all the above verses and restate them faithfully in proposition form while explaining how it is that Jesus having the full human nature ALSO has divine nature that is SHARED by God the Father while STAYING One being (monotheism). Hence the wording of the Nicene Creed:

We believe in .... one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,

begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, ...

In summary:

  • (1) The Father is the only true God (John 17:3), so there is only one "true God"
  • (2) Jesus is "the truth" (John 14:6) so necessarily of the same being (essence) with God, see my commentary above.
  • (3) Jesus is "sent" (John 17:3) meaning NOT God's producing another being, but making Himself present in the world through the temporal fleshy effect of the Incarnation, the Logos "wearing" human flesh. When we wear clothing do we ADD another being to us? No. There is only one being of GratefulDisciple, with or without his clothes. Similarly, because in historical time the Logos clothed Himself with the human nature named "Jesus" (per God's instruction, Luke 1:31), Jesus possesses everything that the Logos has: the being of the Father, which includes all the properties of this One Being including Truth. GratefulDisciple plus his clothes possesses everything that GratefulDisciple has in his nakedness. But unlike GratefulDisciple wearing his clothes, the fusion of Logos's human nature and the Logos's divine nature is much more intimate, like you cannot separate the purple dye from the cloth of a royal robe; both interpenetrates (perichoresis). In the Incarnation there is only One Person: the human being of God.

I hope you can better see how the above conclusion follows directly and faithfully from Scripture, especially regarding the meaning of "truth".


You asked: "What type of god is Jesus?"

Answer: there can be only ONE God, who is True (John 17:3) and who is Spirit (John 4:24). In Trinitarian theology of the early church fathers, God's eternally begotten "Son from the Father" (John 1:14) is interpreted analogically as God's thinking (God's mind spiritually generates Logos, a "spiritual image"). "In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son" (Gal 4:4) who is this Logos, who entered history by taking on human flesh "for our salvation" which includes the facility to makes us "see God in the flesh" in the body of Jesus. Since Logos is numerically one with the Father, Jesus (the fleshly manifestation of Logos, John 1:14) is ALSO numerically one with the Father. Therefore, since the Father is the One True God, Jesus is also the One True God in the flesh (God as man).

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