A short description of what we’re up to can be found here. Comments are welcome but may be moderated for content and tone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Aren't the Gods of Other Religions Really Just Different Views of the Same God?

As human beings, we are subject to changes of mood and personality. A person may behave in a kind and loving way one day, and then be selfish and surly the next. Some people over the centuries have taken this concept and applied it to God. Certainly, they say, God can be just, and the Old Testament is right to say that God is just. But God can also be selfish and capricious, so the ancient Greeks were right to believe in a Zeus who punished men for trivialities and cheated on his wife. The Jews and the Greeks were both right. They each saw a different aspect to God's personality, that's all.

All Things to All Men

The belief in a God who is "all things to all men" is now so widespread that anyone who suggests otherwise is looked upon with pity and scorn. However, the popularity of a notion does not necessarily make it true. Can God really be anything we imagine Him to be? Can He be just and unjust, perfect and imperfect, a loving personal God and a blind impersonal force at the same time? Or is nonsense still nonsense even when we talk it about God?

People often mistake omnipotence for the ability to do and be any number of mutually contradictory things. But this is not what it means. Because of His great power God can certainly do a vast number of things that are impossible to us, but even He cannot contradict Himself or deny His essential nature. The Bible says that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19, Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18) or disown Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). If God truly exists, then He is what He is, not what we want Him to be. We are responsible to find out what He is really like, instead of assuming that whatever ideas might cross our minds about God are true and reliable.

It's One or the Other

No matter what you believe God is like, your belief will either be factually correct or factually incorrect according to God's real nature. If the pantheist is right in his belief that God is an impersonal force, then the Christian is wrong in his belief that God is a conscious and caring Person. If the Christian is right, then the pantheist is wrong. Saying that everybody is right no matter what they believe seems at first very generous and open-minded, but it is logically untenable. The only way everyone in the world could be equally right about God would be if there were no God at all - and then we would all be equally wrong as well. But if God exists, any concept we have of Him will be either right or wrong according to who He actually is.

The Bible says that God is absolutely holy (Lev. 11:44), righteous (Ps. 119:137), and just in all His ways (Deut. 32:4). If God could sin, or make a mistake, or be unfair at any time, then what the Bible says about Him would not be true. However, if what the Bible says about God is true, then any religion which says that God can sin or be unjust is not true. The Bible also says that "there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me." (Is. 45:21) and that "all the gods of the nations are idols." (Ps. 96:5) It is clear that the Scriptures, at least, leave no room for man to believe that all gods are one, and that anyone who believes in the God of the Bible cannot possibly accept the gods of other religions as well.

RJA

Republished by permission of the author

No comments :

Post a Comment