Mere Monotheism is Insufficient

To say that God is One is to say that God is not made up of parts. He’s not assembled from little pieces of divinity. God is One. You can find this affirmed in the most ancient Hebrew confession of faith, the “shema” recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel the Lord your God, the Lord is one.” Now most monotheistic religions have no problem with this text. Even Mormons will agree that the “god of this world” is one.

You will, however, begin to meet with opposition when you turn to texts that show that not only is God one in nature or being, but that there is no other God besides the God who reveals himself in scripture. Deuteronomy 4:35, says that “The LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.”

This truth is crucial to affirm in the present age. Faith, as the bible defines it, is not a matter of personal preference. We’re not told to choose the religious path that works for us. The God who revealed himself to Abraham and then to his offspring through the prophets and then finally and fully in Jesus Christ as recorded and taught by the Apostles – that God is God and there is no other. To bow down and serve another god; to seek out, a path or vehicle to the divine other than the one that God himself reveals is, necessarily to seek a false god.

To say that there is no other god apart from the God revealed in scripture is necessarily to speak of his relationship with the gods proclaimed by other faiths.

If the truths regarding God’s nature found in scripture were consistent with the claims made by Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists and Muslims then it might be possible to say that we’re all on a journey together toward the divine and our different paths will converge in the end because the deeper we dig the more we discover that we’re all worshiping the same God.

The problem is that the only way to maintain that stance is to stop digging because as you study you discover that the biblical claims about God compared to the claims made about Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, and even the Muslim concept of Allah and the Jewish concept of God apart from Jesus Christ are mutually exclusive. That means they cannot all be true. “I am the way and the truth and the life” Jesus says in John 14:6, “there is no other way to the Father but through me.” If you believe that this is true and what is said in Deuteronomy 4 is true then necessarily you must also believe that Buddha, Shiva, Krishna, Allah as the Koran presents him, and the god presently worshiped within Judaism cannot be God and the paths they offer do not and cannot take you to the Father.

(The passage above is an excerpt from a Trinity Sunday sermon I ( Matt Kennedy) preached three years ago)

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