Saturday, March 16, 2013

One God or Many?

“Oh give thanks unto the God of gods... “[1] says the Bible. Please note the upper and lower case “G” and “g.”

Merriam-Webster offers several thoughts on the meaning of God[2], and god.

 God: “… the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.” Quite a resume.

The Webster definition of god is “… a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality…”

So here is our spread. He might be a “Being perfect in wisdom, power and goodness” or a limited “being or object,” like an idol or a human. He might be “creator and ruler of the universe” or could just control a piece of it.

Neither Merriam-Webster nor we, on our own, can define who he is in reality. He is what He is. But these definitions express two over-arching views of reality: there is either one God (monotheism) or more than one god (polytheism).

The Psalm above declares that God is the God of gods. The gods are subordinate. If a god was over the sea and another over fire, neither could be the God of gods. Both have limits to their power. If the “… person or thing of supreme value…”is money, remember Lennon sang,  “Money can’t buy me love.” It’s limited. If god is “that person I can’t live without,” that person might decide  to live without me. These gods have boundaries. They cannot be the God of gods.

The United States can have only one Commander in Chief. If you elect a second simultaneously, then the first Commander is no longer Chief.

A wonderful teacher, L.T. Jeyechandran from India once taught a group of us: The Hindu view of God straddles two poles. On the one pole, they worship a God who is infinite and impersonal (Everything cumulitively is God, including money, a rock, you, and I). And on the other pole they worship gods who are limited and personal, like Ganesh, the elephant god. So which is it … infinite but impersonal, -- or finite and personal?

Neither. The Bible says He is infinite and personal.

If there is more than one god, - be it Ganesh, money, or another person, - they must be limited. If they are limited, then are they really God? A limited god will disappoint at some level.

God, the Creator and Ruler of all, is over all and under none. He is the only limitless, personal God. He is God of gods and will not disappoint.

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”[3]

[1] Psalm 136:2
[3] 1 Timothy 1:17

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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