August 3, 2014
by John Ulrich
Deut. 6: 4 and Mark 12:29 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Jewish Shema)
We are called to choose this one and only God.
The Unity of God
God is One : All parts form one unit.
The attributes of his character are consistent, harmonious, complete in integrity within himself. All his attributes work together. Even the wrath of the God of the Old Testament, and the love of the God of the New Testament work together. It is the same Father with the same heart and character. We experience that God is both in the light and darkness with us. As Christians, we are monotheists believing that in the Trinity, our Lord is one. We always baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The Uniqueness of God
There is one God, only one God, and his name is Yahweh.
God is exclusive: the first commandment requires “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
To have one God is a bold claim in a world with so many gods. As Christians, we put all our “eggs” in the basket of the God of the Bible. There are not different paths to the same God; we are actually called to choose. With today’s pluralistic culture, there can be a tendency to think of all religions as essentially the same, differing only in the fine details. But they differ radically, and are mutually exclusive of each other: they cannot all be true.
Ways Religions are Different
1. Evil and Suffering
- Atheists believe evil does not exist; there is only what is. Just get over it!
- Hindus believe suffering is deserved through karma.
- Muslims feel suffering is a test of our submission to God’s will and to be endured.
- Christians believe suffering just comes because we live in a fallen world.
- God himself is with us in the midst of our suffering and is working for our good.
- The Atheist does not believe sin exists.
- Hindus believe sins are incorrect thoughts inside us.
- Muslims think sin is not what we do, but comes to us through the environment which we can control. Man can be sinless.
- Christians believe sin starts in our hearts. God provides the cure for our sin, Jesus, who shows us what sin looks like and pays the penalty.
3. How Religions See God
- The Atheist does not believe in any god.
- Hindus believe in one divine god with many manifestations.
- Muslims are monotheists who believe that god is distant and impersonal.
- Christians believe in one God in three persons, a God who is both absolute and relational.
We are called to worship the unique God of Scripture.