The belief system of the ancient Hebrews was rigorously monotheistic, “mono” expressing “one” and “theistic” from the Greek word for “God,” meaning that there is only one true God. This position is unwavering all through the Old Testament.
There is but one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not many gods as the nations and tribes around the Hebrews believed. In this sense, the religion of the Bible was unique.
How does God speak about Himself in Exodus 3:13–15? How do these verses imply the oneness of God?
The oneness of God is also found in the text (Deut. 6:4) called by the Jews “the Shema.” It was given this name because the opening word, the command “Hear” in Hebrew, is the word “shema.” This statement is one of the great truths about God, which the people of Israel were commanded to believe and to teach their children.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4, ESV). Compare that verse with Genesis 2:24(ESV), “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” What might it mean that the same Hebrew word for “one” appears in both texts?
The same word, echad, for “one,” is used of God in the “Shema” of Deuteronomy 6:4. This word echad for oneness does not imply a mathematical sum but a complex unity instead. Something is being affirmed here about a unity of distinct parts. Husbands and wives are to be “one” (echad) according to Genesis 2:24, just as in Deuteronomy God is “one.
How should the understanding of God as one help us avoid the pitfalls of idolatry in any form? Why should the Lord alone be the one whom we worship? How can you eradicate any “idols” in your own life?