God. People have been trying to describe Him paint Him and define Him from the very beginning but who is He? Can all the different concepts on God be right? Are any of them right? Is it possible that the God you serve is false?
Hello and welcome to Face the Truth, a program brought to you by the Church of Christ. I am Brother Barry Thompson. Who is God? You won’t get a unified answer as to who God is because there are various religions of the world each having different concepts of God. For example, Hinduism of India regards the whole universe as an incarnation of God and hence, everything in heaven and earth can be worshipped as God. Modern Taoism, like Hinduism, has many gods. It has a god for almost everything. It worships the spirits of animate and inanimate objects, the ancestors and great historical figures and a great number of stars. Then you have the Shinto religion, Confucianism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Islam, who all have different concepts and beliefs about God.
However did you know that even people who are using the Bible as their basis of faith differ in their beliefs about who the God of the Bible really is? Let’s take a look at this.
VO: Of the 3 billion people in the world today, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, monotheism, the belief in one god, is the cornerstone of their faith.
“We are praying to the same god, the one god, the all creating god.”
“The same god that is on the dollar bill…”
What do you know about God?
Man 1: Umm…not much.
Woman 1: He loves everyone.
Man 2: Something like god exists, whether it’s a ‘he’ as we can understand it, we have no basis to judge.
“But Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was…”
Yeah, it’s called a ‘volcanic plume’.
Elderly man: He is the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. The beginning and the end.
Woman 2: He’s 3 gods in one. Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
“The God of the Bible is not the God of the Hindus. The God of the Bible is not the God of the Buddhists. The God of the Bible is not Allah. The God of the Bible is the Lord eternal, God who became man in Jesus Christ. You cannot call Him by all these different names and say you’re talking about the one god. That’s biblical nonsense.”
Now you would think that if they’re using the same book as the basis for their faith and beliefs, then they would all have the same belief and teaching about God. But they don’t. And there’s a strong possibility that the one whom you have been worshipping and serving your entire life is not the God taught by the Bible. Now let’s first look at the various beliefs about God that the major groups in Christendom uphold. Modern Christianity is divided into 3 big branches, namely: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism. There’s no doubt that they all believe in God. But who is the God believed in by these Bible-professing people? We’ll find out when we return on Face the Truth.
Welcome back to Face the Truth. Now many would think, “If people are using the same book as the basis for their beliefs, then they would have the same beliefs on God. But as far as modern Christianity goes, the beliefs on God differ greatly. In fact, modern Christianity, as we mentioned earlier, is divided into 3 big branches: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism and there is no doubt that they all believe in God. But who is the God believed in by these Bible-professing people?
Now we will examine first those groups that have deviated from mainline thinking or idea of God in the so-called Christianity and then we will examine those who are larger and have a longer history. Now let’s first take a look at what the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints or commonly known as ‘The Mormons’ believe about God and what we will be reading is taken from their various books.
[Reads excerpt from book: Mormon Doctrine]
So notice that based on what we read, they believe in a plurality of gods. In fact, they believe in an infinite number of gods, so many gods. But, we’re not done yet because they also say this:
[Reads excerpt from book: Discourses of Brigham Young]
So they’re adding to those who they believe to be god. Their plurality of gods include Adam, also Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the ancient prophets, also Peter, James, John and all the righteous saints. So they’re continuing to add more and more. But we don’t stop there. There’s more. Taken from another one of their books, this book is titled “Mormon Doctrine” by Bruce R. McConkie. It’s stated on page 321 of that book like this:
[Reads excerpt from book: Mormon Doctrine]
So according to this book, he said that God was once a man like us. “He dwelt on earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did.” So in other words, in summary, the Mormons believe in many, many gods. They even believe that man himself can become a god and God Himself was once a man.
Now how about another well-known group who are referred to as the Jehovah’s Witness. What is their belief about God? They state this:
[Reads excerpt from book: Make Sure of All Things – Hold Fast to What is Fine]
So in summary, they believe in 2 gods. They believe in a ‘Mighty God’ who is Jesus Christ and the Almighty God whom they call Jehovah. That’s their belief.
What about those who are Pentecostals? What is their view about God? We’ll read from a reference book that mentions their belief.
[Reads excerpt from book: Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropaedia, Vol.14]
So the Pentecostals don’t believe 3 persons make up the Godhead. They believe 1 person and is Jesus Christ Himself and they believe Jesus Christ is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Now so far, we’ve taken a look at what these 3 different well-known Christian faiths believe about God. Now as you can see, for each, the God they believe in is different. Is that true for others as well? What about the Catholics and Protestants? What do they believe? Well we’ll find out what they believe when we return on Face the Truth.
Welcome back to Face the Truth. Earlier we took a look at what some various religions under the banner of Christianity believe about who God is. Now we can’t possibly cover all of the various beliefs on God. We must discuss however, what Catholics and Protestants believe about God because they are ones who make up the greatest number of those who call themselves Christians and have been around for the longest time, especially the Catholic Church who’s history dates back to the 2nd century. Not only do they make up the majority of those who call themselves Christians but they also have the most widespread belief about God. Now Catholics and Protestants may differ in their doctrinal positions concerning different things or certain things but they’re united in their belief about God. In fact, this is what Albert J. Sanders, who wrote a small book entitled ‘Evangelical and Roman Catholic beliefs compared’. He says this on page 5 of the introduction:
[Reads excerpt from book: Evangelical and Roman Catholic Beliefs]
So the Catholics and Protestants are united in their view about God. They believe in a Trinity of persons. Now let’s get a more detailed view of their belief about God in a Catholic book entitled “The Question Box” written by Rev. Bertrand Conway. Let’s read what is stated on page 39.
[Reads excerpt from book: The Question Box]
So according to this Catholic book, they believe that in God, there are 3 persons in 1 divine essence. So you have the Father, you have the Son, you have the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. And they’re equal and of one substance. Now, there’s another book which mentions what they believe. This is called/entitled “Things Catholics are asked about” by Martin J Scott on page 10. I’m gonna be quoting from that book, it says this:
[Reads excerpt from book: Things Catholics are Asked About]
So there you have it. The Catholics and Protestants believe that God is composed of 3 persons namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are all God yet they are not 3 but 1, according to them. They call this the doctrine of the Trinity. Furthermore, they teach that the 2nd person of the Trinity became a man.
Now by now, you can see that there is a big problem. All these groups, from the Mormons down to Catholics and Protestants have different views on God though there are some similarities. Now if these various groups we mentioned are using the Bible as they claim to be for the basis of their faith and beliefs, then it must be evident to us that they can’t all be correct. For either only 1 group is correct or none of them are correct. They’re all wrong. So who’s right? Now is it possible that they all could be wrong? Even graver, is it possible that the God they worship is false? We’ll find out when we return of Face the Truth.
Welcome back to Face the Truth. Now throughout our episode today, we have combed over the beliefs of these major Christian religions to see who they believe God really is. Now they all supposedly use the Bible as their basis of faith. But for some reason, all of their beliefs on God are different. Now who’s right and who’s wrong? Well it behooves us then to go to the source for the truth about God and that is the Bible or the Holy Scriptures.
What does the Bible teach about God? Are there many true gods as some suppose? Or is there actually one true God? Is the true God composed of 3 divine persons or is God absolutely one? As we can read, the Bible speaks of only 1 God. Not 2 or 3 Gods, but 1. The following biblical texts attest to this fact: Malachi 2:10 tells us this:
10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
What is another text? Let’s go to Rom. 3:29-30.
29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
Let’s get another verse, Galatians 3:20. The Apostle Paul says this:
20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
So here, God is one. Let’s get another one from the Apostle Paul, Eph. 4:4-6. This is stated:
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
What else? Let’s get some more. I Tim. 2:5. Again, from the Apostle Paul:
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Now you know, we can cite so many more verses. But the preceding quotations are sufficient proofs that there is but one God. In fact, the whole Bible, that is from Genesis to the book of Revelations, asserts the singularity of God. Thus, the Bible does not in any way subscribe to polytheism, the belief that there is more than one true God. But what about the idea espoused by and propagated by so many that God is one but has 3 divine persons, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? What does the Bible mean when it says that there is only one God?
Now consider the following solemn declarations of 2 renowned kings of Israel who were unquestionably men of faith as they prayed to the one true God. Let’s first hear from Hezekiah in II Kings 19:15.
15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
Let’s now listen to King David in Psalms 86:6-10. This is what he says:
6 Hear my prayer, LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
So what does the Bible mean when it says that God is one? It means that the one true God is alone. This word is defined in Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary p.51. I’m gonna quote from what that says, it says like this:
[Reads definition from book: Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary]
Now any of these given lexical definitions does not jive with the idea or the concept that God who is one consists of 3 persons. The word ‘alone’ simply but definitely indicates the absolute oneness of God. In fact, God Himself declares this in Isaiah 46:9.
9 Remember what happened long ago;
acknowledge that I alone am God
and that there is no one else like me.
You noticed what God said? “I alone am God.” Not “We three are one God.” “I alone am God.” And He says, “There is no one else like Me.” Thus, God and His words written in the Bible could not be any clearer. Concepts or ideas such as ‘Trinity’, ‘3 in 1’, ‘1 who is 3’ which is upheld by Catholics and Protestants alike, ‘Jesus is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thus, one God’ believed by the Pentecostals, or even a multiplicity of gods like what is believed in by Mormons are all foreign doctrines, foreign teachings to the Bible and only figments of people’s imagination and misunderstanding of the Holy Scriptures.
Now of course, this topic about the true God, though clearly taught in the Bible, has become a subject of great controversy. And so over the next few episodes, we will dig deeper to find out why so many people today have beliefs about God, which are vastly different than what is written in the Bible though they’re so popular. These teachings are not biblical, especially the teaching, the very popular teaching about the Trinity. We will find out exactly why these doctrines actually exist.
However, the truth, though it may be painful at first, but whether we accept it or not, whether we believe it or not, the truth is something we all must face. Thanks for joining us on Face the Truth. See you again next time. ‘Til then, take care and God bless.