Saturday, August 5, 2023

Which God?

When you say "God," which God are you talking about? Okay. You're telling me you believe in God. Great. I've got a follow-up question. "Which one?" 

There are many to choose from. So which God do you believe in? Do you believe in Osiris? Or Zeus? Or Ra? Or Jehovah? Which God? This is a good question to ask people who claim to believe in God, including politicians. 

Incidentally, when you talk to an atheist, it's a good idea to ask the same question. "You say you don't believe in God. Well, which God don't you believe in?" Ask them to describe for you the God they don't believe in. The answer is usually some nondescript distant figure, high on power, low on personality. "Well," you can say, "I don't believe in that God either."

If you are a politician and you talk about God, you need to be clear with people which God you are talking about. I especially would want to know what you believe about Jesus Christ. You see, that's where we're really making a beginning with what you believe. The Bible's answer is a simple one. In the midst of the religious noise of our day, there's a voice -- a Word -- that cuts through and brings clarity on the question of God. His followers wrote a book that has absolutely changed the world, founded entire civilizations, and transformed literally billions of lives. This book brings clarity to the question, "Which God?" 

I have never once heard anyone ask a politician a question like that. "So you believe in God? That's great. Which God do you believe in?"

Those who say that a person's religion should not matter as long as he upholds Judeo-Christian values have a point. For this reason, I'm guessing that even a non-Christian politician can win a part of the evangelical vote. (Mainline Protestants have no problem with candidates who practice a religion other than Christianity.) A Christian might respond as follows:

Jesus is the unique Word (communication) of God. Anything God wants to say to us is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible requires us to have a Jesus-shaped view of God. All other views are wrong. The God Christians talk about is the Jesus-God. He's not the God of the cultural conservative. He's not the God of the left-wing socialist. He is Lord of all. 

Here is how the apostle John describes this God in 1 John 5:20 (LB):

And now we are in God because we are in Jesus Christ his Son, who is the only true God; and he is eternal life. 

So the next time a politician tells you he believes in God, ask him. "Which God?" Better still, because Jesus Christ came into this world to reveal what God is like, ask him, "What do you believe about Jesus Christ?" But belief in "God" is not enough.