Monday, April 10, 2006

A Different Kind of God

Over the recent weeks I have had a few opportunities to discuss how the God of the Bible is different than the god of the Koran.

In the coming remembrances of the crucifixion of Jesus and the celebration of His resurrection, the differences between the God of the Bible and the god's of this world seem even more pronounce.

I don't pretend to understand all the nuances of the "different gods," but I am personally struck by a few pertinent items. Here are some thoughts:

  • Though the God of the Bible, specifically the Lord Jesus, does call us to pick up our cross and die to ourselves and follow Him, this is only after the fact that He picked up His cross and died for us.
  • Though my God does tell me to die for Him, He doesn't call me to kill for Him.
  • The gods of this world seem to promise lots of "stuff" now, but the promise of a future home or hope is either non-existent, or very tentative. Whereas the God of the Bible promises the hope of heaven, and secures that hope not in what I can do or accomplish for Him, but what He did for me in and through Jesus Christ.
  • The gods of this world offer a relationship with me that is flirtive, or impossible to maintain, whereas my God promises never to leave or forsake me.
  • Some of the gods of this world are truly impossible to know, they only offer some philosophy for living, but the God of the Bible, though transcendent has also made Himself known to those who sincerely seek Him.
  • The gods of this world seem constantly in a mode of seeking to get, get, get, but the God of the Bible, though worthy of all glory and all praise and all worship, is also a God who rewards those who diligently seek Him.
And I suppose the list of differences could go on...

What do you think?

And, remember: HE IS RISEN!!! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!


Anonymous said...

I used to be put off by some of the loose references to “God” in the AA program for fear I would be following a false God. Fortunately for me, a lady who happened to be attending a Presbyterian Seminary attended my very first AA meeting. She sponsored me for years, in fact, up until the day she passed away.

I learned that not everyone has had a positive childhood experience with Sunday School (like I did) and as a result have almost knee jerk reactions to certain Christian clich├ęs which ironically I (and other Christians) find comforting. The loose terminology in the Big Book of AA that bugged me comforted them and gave them a starting place to try to get past the frightening religious legalism they had been taught in place of the “real thing” (and often in mainstream denominations).

Eventually I discovered that I could represent the real God to many other AA members only if I used a different language to do so if I didn’t want people to run away or get so hysterically defensive one would think I had seared their flesh with a hot branding iron.

It’s interesting to note that although the authors of the big book claimed not to know the difference between a begat and beatitude, the similarities between the 8 beatitudes Christ began his Sermon on the Mount with and the 12 steps of AA are undeniable. I found myself ultimately wondering why even though most Christians at least know that the begats have something to do with genealogy and are necessary to prove Christ met those messianic qualifications, very few Christians have the first idea what the beatitudes mean yet those steps saved my life and led me right into the kingdom.

My best witnessing tools turned out to be a lot of patience, my ears and the 12 steps as I learned to respect other people’s wounds and allow them to just “talk it out” Sooner or later, if someone does enough soul searching, I believe many will encounter their need for Jesus Christ with very little nudging (if any) necessary on my part.

Which brings me to the one thing (besides offering eternal life – which btw is no small thing!) that the God of the Christian faith can do that others can’t (ammo).

Only Jesus can satisfy one’s soul. There is a deep hunger in each human being’s soul and all of the truly contented, sober rather than “dry drunks” I have ever met in AA have inevitably turned out to be Christians. It seems to me, that there is no one grouchier or more out of sorts than a “sober” atheist who has finally decided that the best he/she can do is to believe in the “fellowship” of other AA members as his/her higher power.

Christianity offers the person of the Holy Spirit to live inside the believer so that the emptiness, the terrible hole in the soul is filled with the presence of a loving God. A friend that truly is closer than a brother (or sister).


Anonymous said...

Having never done a comparative study of "other" gods and other teachings, I am somewhat "adrift" on this subject I only know what I have "heard" others say about certain Koran etc. and what I have read in the paper...and we all know how reliable THEY are!!! I have no real handle on what these other religious "bibles" REALLY say...only what I am TOLD they say.

That makes me wonder how accurately I am quoting the Bible, the teachings of Christ to what I SAY...what I DO...and how I LIVE. A LOT of people THINK that "God helps those who help themselves" is actually in the Bible. It isn't a bad "concept" but it isn't Scripture. However, Scripture DOES say that... " if a man will not work he shall not eat"...and that a man who doesn't provide for his family is worse than an infidel. It DOES say that "God is Love" also says "God HATES sin!" ...and will deal with it "justly".

At this time of year...this Holy week when our minds are more focused on THE sacrifice...the plan of salvation...I thank God...the ONLY God...the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and Ruthie) that although He HATES sin...He LOVES the sinner....and provided THE "way" by which we might re-establish our fractured relationship with Him. You noticed I didn't say "a" way....I guess that is where all of these OTHER gods come in....they all have said they have a way to "all roads lead to Rome" concept.False!!!! There is only ONE way...and Jesus IS that way. Only HIS blood cleanses us from sin...only HIS death atones....only HE was resurrected!! Budda still lies in his grave, as does Muhammand, Ghandi, and all the rest of the "other gods" who promised so much and delivered zilch!!

How grateful I am for the cross, for the precious blood, for the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead...the power that He makes availible to ME to walk with Him each day.

I use to work for a bank (in my youth) and in some of the classes we were shown counterfit bills....we were told to not concentrate on recognizing counterfit bills by studying counterfit bills...but by studying the "real mcCoy". When you know the REAL thing so well you can spot a counterfit instantly. I guess that would apply to Christianity as well...when we know the real thing well...we can discern the false more easily.

Jesus is the "REAL thing"...
Happy Easter...Ruthie