Trinitarian defenders continue to use these verses as proof even though it is a fact that they have been questioned by their trinitarian scholars as either corrupted ,mistranslated, or misunderstood.GENESIS 1:1,26
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge :
Early dogmaticians were of the opinion that so essential a doctrine as that of the Trinity could not have been unknown to the men of the Old Testament. However, no modem theologian who clearly distinguishes between the degrees of revelation in the Old and New Testaments can longer maintain such a view. Only an inaccurate exegesis which overlooks the more immediate grounds of interpretation can see references to the Trinity in the plural form of the divine name Elohim, the use of the plural in Gen. i. 26, or such liturgical phrases of three members as the Aaronic blessing of Num. vi. 24-26 and the Trisagion (q.v.) of Isa. vi. 3. On the other hand, the development of Christology and, later, of the doctrine of the Trinity has undoubtedly been influenced by certain passages of the Old Testament. (1957), Vol. 12, p. 18.
Hastings Dictionary of the Bible
The Old Testament can scarcely be used as authority for the existence of distinctions within the Godhead. The use of 'us' by the divine speaker (Gen. 1:26, 3:32, 11:7) is strange, but it is perhaps due to His consciousness of being surrounded by other beings of a loftier order than men (Isa. 6:8).Davidson, A. B., (1963)
Word Biblical Commentary on Genesis:
When angels appear in the OT they are frequently described as men (Gen. 18:2). And in fact the use of the singular verb in v. 27 does in fact suggest that God worked alone in the creation of mankind. 'Let us create man' should therefore be regarded as a divine announcement to the heavenly court, drawing the angelic host's attention to the master stroke of creation, man. As Job 38:4, 7 puts it: 'When I laid the foundation of the earth all the Sons of God shouted for joy' (cp. Luke 2:13-14)."Wenham, Gordon J. (1987), Word Biblical Commentary on Genesis.Footnote in the New English Translation. (Online Edition.)
Of course, this view does assume that the members of the heavenly court possess the divine "image" in some way. Since the image is closely associated with rulership, perhaps they share the divine image in that they, together with God and under his royal authority, are the executive authority over the world.
Writing in his Hebrew Grammar, Gesenius advances the following explanation:
Greatness, especially in a metaphorical sense, as associated with power and sovereignty, is plurally expressed. Hence, there are several nouns which are used in the plural as well as the singular, to denote Lord or God (Pluralis majestaticus vel excellentioe) e.g. Eloahh. God is scarcely found in the singular, except in poetry; in prose; commonly elohim; adon, lord, old form of the plural adonai, the Lord, kat exochen (God), shaddai, the Almighty. Often the idea of greatness is no longer associated with the form, the mind having accustomed itself to contemplate the powerful in general as a plural. Another example of the plural majestatis is the use of we by Deity in speaking of Himself (Gen. 1:26; 11:7; Isa. 6:8) and by kings. The German language has it not only in this latter case, but in addressing a second person by Ihr and Sie. This plural is also found in modern Arabic and Persian.
Dr. Rotherham says:
"It should be carefully observed that, although ‘elohim’ is plural
in form, yet when, as here, it is construed with a
verb in the singular, it is naturally singular in
sense; especially since the ‘plural of quality’ or
‘excellence’ abounds in Hebrew in cases where the
reference is undeniably to something which must be
understood in the singular."
Oxford scholar R. B. Girdlestone writes on this matter in his Synonyms of the Old Testament:
however, of unimpeachable orthodoxy, think it wiser to
rest where such divines as Cajetan [a theologian] in
the Church of Rome and Calvin among Protestants were
content to stand, and to take the plural form as a
plural of majesty, and as indicating the greatness,
the infinity, and the incomprehensibleness of the
Deity."1 The truth on this matter is clearly perceived
by many scholars, but it is hard to restrain some
hard-pressed Trinitarians from stretching the truth to
prove the unprovable.
Oxford Annotated Bible, RSV, 1962:
"The plural 'us,' 'our' (Gen.3:22; 11:7) probably refers to the divine beings [the heavenly host] who surround God in His heavenly court (1Ki.22:19; [2Chron.18:8]; Job 1:6; Isa.6:8; cf. Psa.29:1; [Lk.2:13]) and in whose image man was made."
Word Biblical Commentary:
"Christians have traditionally seen this verse as foreshadowing the Trinity. It is now universally admitted that this was not what the plural meant to the original author."
NIV Study Bible:
"God speaks as the Creator-King, announcing His crowning works to the members of the heavenly court (see Gen.3:22; 11:7; Isa.6:8)."ISAIAH 9:6The term "Mighty God" was not mentioned as one of the names of the child but as part of the name which, in Hebrew, is read as Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom
Jewish Publications Society of America, The explanation in the footnote to this verse in the Jewish Publications Society of America states:
"That is, wonderful in Counsel is God the Mighty, the Everlasting Father, the Ruler of Peace."
Smith-Goodspeed Translation rendered this verse thus:
" 'For us a child is born to us, a son is given to us; And the government will be upon his shoulder; And his name will be called 'Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of Peace'."JOHN 8:58:
Commentators have examined this issue significantly, as EGW EIMI is clearly just a self identification of him being the Christ.
John Gill explains this passage as follows17
: "They were confounded, surprised, and intimidated, and seemed as if they would have chose rather to have fled from him, than to have apprehended him; and as they retired and went backward, they fainted away, as it were, either at the majesty of his looks, or at the power of his words, or both, so that they became like ad men, falling to the ground. Sometimes the majesty of a man's person, or his fame for some remarkable things done by him, or the innocence and uprightness of his cause, have had such an influence upon his enemies, that they have not been able to execute upon him what they intended."
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible states18
: "The frank, open, and fearless manner in which Jesus addressed them may have convinced them of his innocence, and deterred them from prosecuting their wicked attempt. His disclosure of himself was sudden and unexpected; and while they perhaps anticipated that he would make an effort to escape, they were amazed at his open and bold profession."Furthermore, in the footnotes of several English translations of the Bible, we could find their difficulty in translating God's name. Below are several examples:
"Since it seems related to the word translated 'I am', it may mean 'I am the one who is' or 'I will be what I will be' or 'I am the one who brings into being'." (Contemporary English Version)
"Or I will be what I will be." (NIV)
"I am: or I will be what I will be." (New Revised English Bible)
"Or I am what I am or I will be what I will be." (NRSV)JOHN 1:1
"The Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine."
The New American Catholic Edition, Douay Confraternity Bible FOOTNOTE:
"St. John employs the term Word. It is so used onlv by St. John and designates the Son as a kind of intellectual emanation from the Father."
An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, by C.F.D. Moule, this is stated:
"It is necessarily without the article (Theos not o' Theos) in as much as it describes the nature of the Word and does not identify His Person." (p. 116)
Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1: "with an anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logoshas the nature of theos. There is no basis for regarding the predicate theos as definite."(published in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 92, Philadelphia,1973, p. 85, Philip B. Harner)
The Gospel of John, (Daily StudyBible Bible Series):
"Finally John says that the Word was God. There is nodoubt that this is a difficult saying for us tounderstand, and it is difficult because Greek, inwhich John wrote, had a different way of saying thingsfrom the way in which English speaks. When Greek usesa noun it almost always uses a definite article withit. The Greek for God is theos, and the definitearticle is ho When Greek speaks about God it does notsimply say theos; it says ho theos. Now when Greekdoes not use a definite article with a noun that nounbecomes much more like an adjective; it describes thecharacter, the quality of the person. When John saidthat the Word was God he was not saying that Jesus isidentical with God; he was saying that Jesus is soperfectly the same as God in mind, in heart, in beingthat in Jesus we perfectly see what God is like."(William Barclay, Vol. 1, p. 17.)
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library:
"In none of these instances [including John 1:1] is theos [God] used in such a manner as to identify Jesus with him who elsewhere in the New Testament figures as ‘ho theos,’ that is, the Supreme God…If the New Testament writers believed it vital that the faithful should confess Jesus as ‘God,’ is the almost complete absence of just this form of confession in the New Testament explicable?" (, 1967-68, Vol. 50, p. 253).
Hastings Bible Dictionary:
"The ‘word’ of God in the Old Testament [which sets a pattern for the New Testament] is sometimes spoken of as if it had an objective existence, and possessed a native power of realizing itself. The ‘wisdom’ of God in some passages is no more an attribute of God, but a personification of his thought. In Proverbs 8 ‘wisdom’ is God’s world-plan or conception, the articulated frame-work of the universe as a moral organism. Its creation is the first movement of the divine mind outward. Being projected outside of the mind of God, it becomes the subject of His own contemplation; it is ‘with God’" [Cp. John 1:1, ‘the word was with God,’ which does not mean that the word was another person] (A.B. Davidson, , art. God, Vol. II, p. 205, emphasis added).English translations of the Bible before the KJV rendered the beginning of John 1: "All things were made through it and without it nothing was made that was made. In it was life…." Similarly a number of modern German and French translations describe the word as "it," not "him.JOHN 10:30
Simple English Bible:
“My Father and I are united.”
The Gospel According to St John, Professor
R.V.G.Tasker, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries,
"One translates the Greek neuter hen. This verse was
much quoted in the Aryan controversy by the orthodox
in support of the doctrine that Christ was of one
substance with the Father. The expression seems
however mainly to imply that the Father and the Son
are united in will and purpose. Jesus prays in [John
17:11] that His followers may all be one(hen), i.e.
united in purpose, as He and His Father are united."
Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament,
Reinecker/Rogers, Zonderavn Publishing House, Grand
Rapids, Michigan, © 1970 Brunnen-Verlag, Giessen, 1997
"[EN] n[euter]. "one thing." Identity is not asserted,
but essential unity is(Morris[=Leon Morris, The Gospel
According to John, London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott,
A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel
According to St. John, J.H.Bernard, T.& T.Clark,
Edinburgh, 1928, pp. 365, 366:
"[EGO KAI HO PATNR HEN ESMEN[Lit: "I and the Father
one we-are]]It has been customary, following the habit
of the patristic commentators, to interpret these
significant words in the light of the controversies of
the fourth century. Bengel, e.g. (following
Augustine), says: "Per sumnus refutator Sabellius, per
unum Arius"; the words this being taken to prove the
identity of essence between the father and the Son,
while the difference of persons is indicated by the
plural [ESMEN]. But it is an anachronism to transfer
the controversies of the fourth century to the
theological statements of the first. We have a
parallel to [EN ESMEN[Lit: "One we-are"]] in 1
Cor.3:8, where Paul says [HO PHUTEUWN KAI HO POTIZWN
EN EISIN[Lit: "The planting and the making-to-drink
one they-are]], meaning that both the "planter" and
the "waterer" of the seed are in the same category, as
compared with God who gives the increase. A unity of
fellowship, of will, and of purpose between the Father
and the Son is a frequent theme in the Fourth Gospel
(cf. 5:18,19; 14:9,23 and 17:11,22), and it is tersely
and powerfully expressed here; but to press the words
so as to make them indicate indentity of
[OUSIA['essence']], is to introduce thoughts which
were not present to the theologians of the first
A unity of fellowship, of will, and of purpose between the Father and the Son is a frequent theme in the Fourth Gospel (cf. 5:18,19; 14:9,23 and 17:11,22), and it is tersely and powerfully expressed here; but to press the words so as to make them indicate indentity of OUSIA ['essence'], is to introduce thoughts which were not present to the theologians of the first century. Bernard, J.H. (1928), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John.
The ancients made a wrong use of this passage to prove that Christ is oJmoousiov of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement which he has with the Father, so that whatever is done by Christ will be confirmed by the power of his Father.
Calvin, John, Commentary on the Gospel of John.ROMANS 9:5The following quoted translations, is very clear that Christ is not God over all . The separate exaltation or doxology to God "God blessed forever or blessed to the ages" at the end of the sentence does not refer to Christ.But to God as supported by eph 4:6 (One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.)
In Today's English Version, it says: "they are
descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and
Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May
God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.
In Young's Literal Translation, it says: "whose [are]
the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to
the flesh, who is over all, God blessed to the ages.
In Wesley's New Testament, it says; "To them the
Patriarchs belong, and from them in respect of His
human lineage came the Christ, who is exalted above
all, God blessed throughout the Ages. Amen.
In the Webster Bible, it says: "Whose [are] the
fathers, and from whom according to the flesh, Christ
[came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
In the Dalby Translation, it says:"whose [are] the
fathers; and of whom, as according to flesh, [is] the
Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen
In New American Standard, it says: "whose are the
fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the
flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.1 TIMOTHY 3:16
(ASV) And without controversy great is the mystery ofgodliness; He who was manifested in the flesh,Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preachedamong the nations, Believed on in the world, Receivedup in glory (BBE) And without argument, great is the secret ofreligion: He who was seen in the flesh, who was givenGod's approval in the spirit, was seen by the angels,of whom the good news was given among the nations, inwhom the world had faith, who was taken up in glory.
(CEV) Here is the great mystery of our religion:Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that hepleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ waspreached to the nations. People in this world puttheir faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.
(RSV) Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of ourreligion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicatedin the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among thenations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
(RNKJV) And without controversy great is the mysteryof reverence: who was manifest in the flesh, justifiedin the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto theGentiles, believed on in the world, received up intoglory.
(RKJNT) And beyond question, great is the mystery ofgodliness: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated inthe Spirit, seen by angels, preached among thenations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
(Holman) And most certainly, the mystery of godlinessis great: He was manifested in the flesh, justified inthe Spirit, seen by angels, preached among theGentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
(ISV) By common confession, the secret of our godlyworship is great: In flesh was he revealed to sight,Kept righteous by the Spirit's might, Adored by angelssinging. To nations was he manifest, Believing soulsfound peace and rest, Our Lord in heaven reigning!
(NASB) By common confession, great is the mystery ofgodliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Wasvindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimedamong the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken upin glory.
American Standard Version: "The word God, in place of He who,rest on no sufficient ancient evidence. Some ancient authorities read which."
Dr. Bart D. Erhman's book, THE ORTHODOX CORRUPTION OF SCRIPTURE:
"...Precisely here, however, is the textual problem;for the relative (Who) has been subjected toalteration in the course of the text's transmission....there are reasons for suspecting that the changewas not an accident.It should first be observed that four of the uncialwitnesses (manuscripts) that attest "God" do so onlyin corrections (like you and I would cross out a wordand write a new one - unfortunately for them the inkdid not erase well so they left evidence of thecrime). This shows not only that "God" was the"preferred" reading of LATER scribes but also that itdid not creep into tradition unawares. Second, wecannot overlook what the reading "God" provides forthe orthodox scribe - a clear affirmation of thedoctrine that God became incarnate in the person ofYahshua Christ. This certainly is the orthodox"mystery": it was "God" who was "manifest in theflesh, justified in the spirit," etc. (in other wordsthe scribes couldn't let the opportunity pass to"tweak" the manuscript to "support" their own personalbias or the bias of the one paying them to copy themanuscript.)
That the reading "God" cannot be original is shownboth by the character of the manuscript attestation -the earliest and superior manuscripts all support therelative (Who) - and by the fact that ancient creedalfragments typically begin precisely in this way, thatis, with a relative pronoun. The change must havebeen made fairly early, at least during the thirdcentury, given its widespread attestation from thefourth century on. (Council of Nicaea was in the 4thcentury - 325CE) It can therefore best be explainedas an anti-adoptionistic corruption (intentionalchange) that stresses the deity of Christ."
The Expositor's Bible Commentary brings out thefollowing:
"In KJV the first word of the creed is"God" (theos). But the oldest Greek MSS have hos, "hewho" as the subject of "appeared." "
Robertson's Word Pictures:
"He who(hos). The correct text, not theos (God) the readingof the Textus Receptus (Syrian text) nor ho (neuterrelative, agreeing with muste¯rion) the reading of theWestern documents. Westcott and Hort print thisrelative clause as a fragment of a Christian hymn(like Eph_5:14) in six strophes. That is probablycorrect. At any rate hos (who) is correct and there isasyndeton (no connective) in the verbs. Christ, towhom hos refers, is the mystery (Col_1:27; Col_2:2).TITUS 2:13The following translations proves that God and Christ are not the same.
The Douay-Rheims version (a Catholic publication from 1610) reads:
"...of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The American Standard Version (1901) reads
"...of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The New Testament in Modern English (1963) reads
"...of the great God and of Christ Jesus our saviour."
Segond's La Sainte Bible (1970) reads :
"...of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ."
New American Bible (1972) - reads:
"...of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus."
The New Revised Standard Version (1997 edition) contains a footnote which presents the optional rendering :
"...of the Great God and our Saviour..."
Trinitarian Albert Barnes writes in his Notes on the Bible:
…it is not a doctrine of the New Testament that God himself as such, or in contradistinction from his incarnate Son, will appear at the last day.
It is said, indeed, that the Saviour will come “in the glory of his Father, with his angels” Matthew 16:27, but that God as such will appear is not taught in the Bible.
The doctrine there is, that God will be manifest in his Son; that the divine approach to our world be through him to judge the race; and that though he will be accompanied with the appropriate symbols of the divinity, yet it will be the Son of God who will be visibleHEBREWS 1:8
Greek Interlinear Translation:
"toward but the Son The throne of you the God into theage of the age, and the staff of the straightness staff of the kingdom of him."
Revised English Bible:God has enthroned you for all eternity; your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity
Jewish Publication Society:
Thy throne given of God is forever and ever; A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom
Revised Standard Version: Your divine throne endures for ever and ever; your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity.
Goodspeed: God is your throne forever and ever!”
Moffat:He says of the Son ‘God is thy throne forever and ever,…”
RSV the footnote in Heb. 1:8 says: "a-Or God is thy throne."
Bible scholar B. F. Westcott states:
"The LXX [Septuagint] admits of tworendering: [ho theos'] can be taken as a vocative in both cases (Thy throne, O God...therefore, O God, ThyGod...) or it can be taken as the subject (or the predicate) in the first case (God is thythrone, or Thy throne is God...), and in apposition to [ho theos' sou] in the second case (Therefore God,even Thy God...)....It is scarcely possible that ['Elohim'] in the original can be addressed tothe king. The presumption therefore is against the belief that [ho theos'] is a vocative in the LXX. Thus on the whole it seems best to adopt in the first clause the rendering: God is Thy throne(or, Thy throne is God), that is 'Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the immovable Rock.' "—The Epistleto the Hebrews (London, 1889), pp. 25,26.
The Stone Edition of the Tanakh renders it as:
Psalm 45:7 7 Your throne is from God, it is forever and ever, [for] the scepter of fairness is the scepter of your kingdom.1 JOHN 5:7
The Vatican said:
"In recent times the doubts concerning its authenticity have grown and the Holy Office, in 1927, declared that, after careful examination of the whole circumstances, its genuineness could be denied." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 56)
NIV Study Bible, which is well known for its ardent belief in the Trinity, says: “The addition is not found in any Greek manuscript or NT translation prior to the 16th century.”
The Greek scholar A. T. Robertson A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, and the multi-volumed Word Pictures in the New Testament, writes:At this point [1 John 5:7] the Latin Vulgate gives the words in the Textus Receptus, found in no Greek MS. save two late cursives (162 in the Vatican Library of the fifteenth century, [No.] 34 of the sixteenth century in Trinity College, Dublin). Jerome did not have it. Erasmus did not have it in his first edition, but rashly offered to insert it if a single Greek MS. had it, and 34 was produced with the insertion, as if made to order. Some Latin scribe caught up Cyprian’s exegesis and wrote it on the margin of his text, and so it got into the Vulgate and finally into the Textus Receptus by the stupidity of Erasmus.”1 JOHN 5:20:
The Living Bible by Kenneth Taylor here reads: "Jesus Christ his Son, who is the only true God; and he is life eternal."
If the above is correct then we would have to accept that Jesus Christ is "the only true God." As the Bible clearly states that there is only one true God then this might mean that John was saying that the Son, as well as the Father, were this "God". Hence, this passage could be used to support the teaching that God is a being who is also three persons(the other person being the 'Holy Spirit). The 'Trinity'.
The Greek here reads:
"oidamen de hoti ho huios tou theou hekei kai dedwken heuin dianoian hiva ginwskomen ton alethinon: kai esmen en tw alethinos en tw huiw autou Iesou Christw. Houtos estin ho alethinos theos kai zwe aiwnios."
Literally this is "We-have-known but that the Son of-the God is-come, and he-has-given to-us mental-perception in-order-that we-are-knowing the true(one); and we-are in the true(one), in the Son of-him to-Jesus Christ. This(one) is the true God and life everlasting."- Kingdom Interlinear Translation, WTBTS, 1986 edition.
"From the above it is quite clear that John is stressing "that"('hoti') the Son of God has "come" ('hekei'). And why has the Son come? It was to "give us mental-perception"('diaonian'). But about whom should we gain this "mental-perception? John writes "in-order-that we-are-knowing *the true one*('alethinon'). Did not the Son come to explain the Father who is "ton monon alhthinon theou," that is, "the only true God" ?- John 17:3. Is not John focussing on the Father in verse 18,19 and this sets up what he writes in v.20? So the subject of "houtos," "This(one)," is manifestly "the true God and life everlasting.""
Hence, although the closest possible antecedent to "houtos," "This one," is Jesus Christ, it is the "true one," that is the antecedent- God the Father.
"houtos: as a climax to vv.18-20 the ref[erence] is almost certainly to God the real, the true, opp[osite of] paganism(v.21.)"- "A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament, Zerwick/Grosvenor, Rome Biblical Institue, 1981.
"[1 John 5:]20f. Christ has revealed the one true God, the source of eternal life(cf. 5:12; Jn 17:3, 20:31). 'This is the true God' does not refer to Jesus as Stauffer thinks(Theology of the NT.(English translation 1955), 114)." G. Johnston, Peake's Commentary on the Bible, Thomas Nelson and Sons, reprint of 1964.
"Conclusion: Although it is certainly possible that houtos["this one"] refers back to Jesus Christ, several converging lines of evidence points to "the true one," God the Father, as the probable antecedent. This position, houtos = God, is held by many commentators, authors of general studies, and significantly, by those grammarians who express an opinion on the matter."-M. Harris, "Jesus as God, The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus," Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, p.253.
"..it is more likely that the word "this" has a wider and vaguer reference. The writer is gathering together in his mind all that he has been saying about God- how He is light and love, how He is revealed as the Father through his Son Jesus Christ, and "this", he adds, "is the real God"...For illustration of this we need only recall John 17:3." C.H.Dodd, Moffatt New Testament Commentary.
"[1 John]5.20-21. Knowing the true God;... The Greek of 5:20 has only the true (one) and reads literally: we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding 'so that we know the true(one) and we are in the true(one)', in his Son Jesus Christ. 'This (one) is the true God and eternal life.' It is clear from this that 'the true (one)' is God throughout. Christ is his Son. In the final sentence this (one) most naturally refers still to God, not to Christ, as some have suggested. It is not unknown for Christ to be given God's name(Phil. 2:9-11) or even to be called 'God' (Heb. 1:8-9; John 1:1), but that would run contrary to the theme here, which is contrasting true and false understandings of God for which Christ's revelation is the criterion.
"5:20 reminds us of Jesus' prayer according to John 17:3: 'This is eternal life: to know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent...."- William Loader, The Johannine Epistles, Epworth Commentaries, 1992, p.79.(This commentary uses the Revised English Bible (1989) for it's quotations.)