Protons and electrons are equal in an atom’s natural state.
The atomic number tells how many protons an atom has. That determines its identity as one element or another. It will also have that many electrons in its orbitals, at least to start with.
The number of electrons does not determine an atom’s identity. Rather, this determines how elements will react and bond with each other.
Swapping and sharing electrons is how atoms interact. Water, which is not an element, is made up of hydrogen (Element 1) and oxygen (Element 8) sharing electrons. You probably already knew that.

Protons and electrons are equal in an atom’s natural state.

The atomic number tells how many protons an atom has. That determines its identity as one element or another. It will also have that many electrons in its orbitals, at least to start with.

The number of electrons does not determine an atom’s identity. Rather, this determines how elements will react and bond with each other.

Swapping and sharing electrons is how atoms interact. Water, which is not an element, is made up of hydrogen (Element 1) and oxygen (Element 8) sharing electrons. You probably already knew that.