False Concepts Of God

We will take a break with the teaching on Tithing and understand the various erroneous notions about God which have formed cults, religions, and institutions.

When Paul was in Athens, he told the Greek intellectuals assembled to hear fresh ideas and concepts of God that they did not know the One true GOD.

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Acts 17:23 -- For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you.

Many people now believe that contemporary man has intellectually progressed beyond the Greeks. In reality, a substantial portion of our own population has a similar view of God as the ancient Greeks.

Let us look at the different ideas that religions and cults have of God and how that affects their thinking and rationality.

CALVINISM

John Calvin (1509-1564) was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. Calvin's theology may have been based on his conviction in God's sovereignty. Using this notion, Calvin believed that Jehovah had decided who would be saved and who would be lost.

In his Institutes of Christian Religion, he said,

"No religious person dares to reject predestination, by which God selects some for life and condemns others to everlasting death."


John Calvin

Calvin saw man's destiny as entirely divine. For the following grounds, this doctrine is unbiblical.

The Gospel is universal. 

God sent His Son for the world, therefore the gospel is for everyone.

John 3:16 -- For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Luke 2:10 -- But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people..."

John 12:32 -- And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself.”

Lesser-known passages of the Bible indicate that the spiritually dead may be raised.

Luke 5:31-32 -- Jesus answered them, “Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Ephesians 2:1 -- And although you were dead in your offenses and sins..."

The saved may be lost again. 

A believer may lose faith, and those in grace can lose it.

Hebrews 3:12 -- See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God.

Galatians 5:4 -- You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!

What happened to the Jews of the early church, who heard the gospel, believed in Jesus Christ, and then later went back to the traditions and rituals of Judaism were called as fallen away from grace. The same can happen to anyone who goes back to his/her old ways.

ATHEISM

Atheism claims there is no God. But no atheist can coherently claim that there is no God unless he also professes his own omniscience and omnipresence. 

When an atheist admits he does not know everything, he opens the door for proof of God's existence. And if the atheist is not everywhere, then maybe where he is not is where evidence of the Deity might be discovered.

So it is not fair to say, "I know God does not exist."

The word "atheist" comes from two Greek elements: a negative prefix that means "no," "not," or "without," and the noun theos, which means "God." 

In Ephesians 2:12, Paul emphasises that pagan Gentiles were "without God" (atheos), which means, without knowing the Lord personally.

Atheism is a primitive, illogical religion. There is enough proof that God exists – from cause and effect, cosmic design, moral consciousness, the Scriptures, etc.

Atheism has appropriately been dubbed as, "the fool's religion." This is not intended to be an insensitively harsh description; rather, it is an assertion of deep truth. Atheism is both "religious" and "foolish." Take note of the following verse,

Psalms 14:1 -- Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.” They sin and commit evil deeds; none of them does what is right.

David declared that those who say there is no God are fools.

ONENESS PENTECOSTALISM

According to the "Oneness Holiness" heresy, "the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" are all one divine Person. They do not distinguish between the Father, Son, and Spirit.

However, the Bible clearly states that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct individuals. The Father is not the Son, since the Father knew when the time would end, but the Son did not.

Matthew 24:36 -- “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

The Son prayed to the Father. 

John 17:11 -- And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Luke 23:34 -- And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Matthew 27:46 -- And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Luke 23:46 -- Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Matthew 11:25-26 -- At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

John 12:27-28 --  “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Luke 22:42 -- “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.”

All the verses above clearly show Jesus the Son praying to the Father. Jesus did not pray to Himself as it is implied from the Oneness Pentecostal / Jesus only doctrine.

One may blaspheme the Son and be pardoned, but not the Spirit.

Matthew 12:32 -- Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

In fact, refusing to recognise the distinction between "the Father and the Son" is operating in the spirit of anti-Christ.

1 John 2:22 -- Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son.

POLYTHEISM

It is a belief in many gods. Paul's soul was stirred at Athens by the city's idols.

Acts 17:16 -- While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols.

But polytheism is not only an old faith. It survives even now. As communication technology advances, the Christian will confront more of this erroneous belief system.

Hinduism, for example, with its many gods, is gaining ground in western countries and Europe. However, different people began to stray from the concept of ONE God. Men began to personify and worship nature's different powers, for example the sun, moon, stars, fire, air, water, etc.

There are songs to these creatures in India's ancient Vedas ("holy" literary works). Hindu religion, with its plethora of gods, evolved from pantheism, the belief that everything eventually contains the "god" essence. This is not different from contemporary New Age ideology's tenets which have crept into many churches.

Polytheism clings to man's fundamental religious impulse, namely the desire to trust in a higher power, but denies the one true God to whom man must answer religiously, morally, and ethically.

Specific cults that claim to be Christian also advocate for certain types of polytheism. One of them is Mormonism, however, they are not strictly polytheists, they are monolatristic, which is they worship one God but believe that others also exist.

The ancient pagan world's gods were diverse. They were nasty, fighting creatures that exemplified complete depravity. They married and gave birth to new gods; they battled and destroyed one another viciously. They had a range of temperaments and personalities. 

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 -- If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.

Even the devils are aware, they tremble and believe that there is only one God.

James 2:19 -- You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.

DEISM

Deism rejects that God is interested in and intervenes in men's lives. "God has retreated into Himself and concealed inside the heart of His own being," said deist Joubert. He was a master of senseless speaking.

It is a belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe.

The deist rejects the Bible as divine revelation and insists that man must walk by reason and experience. A deist is an atheist who has not had time to become one. 

Voltaire, the renowned French philosopher, was a deist. He said, "A watch proves a watchmaker, and a cosmos shows a God." Despite this, Voltaire was a fervent opponent of Christianity.

ISLAM

Islam's God is incompatible with the Bible's teachings. Muslims believe Allah(God) is a single isolated person, who has no son or spouse, and that He alone is worthy of adoration. Every other god is a fraud. 

Mohammed's followers, therefore, reject the divine nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Many claim that the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment in Mohammed. However, the Bible gives us sufficient credible information on the divinity of Christ.

John 1:1-3 -- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.

John 1:14 -- Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.

John 10:28 -- I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand.

John 10:30 -- "The Father and I are one.”

John 20:28 -- Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Acts 5:3-4 -- But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!”

AGNOSTICISM

T. H. Huxley created the word "agnostic," claiming the notion of  "existence" is "impossible to solve." The agnostic does not reject God's existence; he just states that the evidence does not support it. He claims no one can know whether there is a Supreme Being.

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T.H. Huxley

The agnostic may be pessimistic about knowing. Some Christian authors who claim that we cannot "prove" God's existence does not assist the cause. That is not the case.

MODERNISM

Religious modernism distorts God. The idea of evolution impacted modernists greatly. Liberals have therefore applied the concept of evolutionary development to the Bible.

A modernist puts it in this way, "Every concept in the Bible developed in breadth and height toward the climax of Christ's Gospel, we know."

The hypothesis for Jehovah is that the Old Testament depicts God as an angry, violent Deity. This idea came from primordial man personifying hostile natural elements he could not comprehend. By the New Testament period, a kind God was said to have emerged. So Jesus' God is one of love, not vengeance.

This God-view contradicts reality. There are instances of the Lord's severe judgment in the Old Testament as He grew mankind spiritually. Any critic can read Psalm twenty-three which depicts God as a kind and loving Shepherd. 

Even while the New Testament emphasises God's kindness especially in the gift of Jesus Christ, there is enough proof that God will condemn the rebellious because of their willful rebellion against His word.

Acts 12:23 -- Immediately an angel of the Lord struck Herod down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Romans 11:22 -- Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

Modernism's concept of God is totally flawed.

PANTHEISM

Pantheism holds that God's essence pervades everything. God is the cosmos. The so-called "new age" movement has revived this idea. They believe God is everything and in everything God is. 

I have a friend who is a pastor and leader of a church and now has diverted his track to pantheism saying, "God is in all things and everyone, whether you believe in Christ or no does not matter, God still lives in all." HoweverTHIS IS NOT THE TRUTH.

One proponent of this theory says,

"God does not exist. In another sense, in everything only God exists. There is no God because everything is God." -- Benjamin Creme.

This assertion is absurd, as is pantheism as a whole. God endures forever. He is eternal. 

Psalms 90:2 -- Even before the mountains came into existence, or you brought the world into being, you were the eternal God.

He is the Creator of the cosmos, therefore apart from it. The "new age" fanatics make the grave mistake of confusing the Creator with His creation.

Romans 1:22-25 -- Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This philosophy aims to dethrone God and elevate man to god status. This is why people start to seek and find God in all things and create images and places of worship in the name of God.

MORMONISM

The religion of Joseph Smith Jr. includes a peculiar God idea. It rejects the everlasting God. Smith said, "We have always assumed God was God. I will disprove it and remove the veil so you may see."

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Joseph Smith Jr.

But the Bible plainly states that God is God from eternity. He is not a man with flesh and blood. He is Spirit.

Hosea 11:9 -- I cannot carry out my fierce anger! I cannot totally destroy Ephraim! Because I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you – I will not come in wrath!

Matthew 16:17 -- And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!

John 4:24 -- God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Luke 24:39 -- See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

The Mormon view of God is totally inaccurate and erroneous.

CONCLUSION

It is vital that people who educate themselves or teach about God do so in accordance with His revealed Word. The Lord must not be abused nor misrepresented.

Blessings,

Godwin.


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