During my second year at Bible college I wrestled with the idea of One true God, ever since then I was passionate about this topic. My biggest concern was this; How can I be sure if the God of the Bible, the God that I worship is the True God? I did not want to spend my whole life on planet earth in vain while embracing the wrong religion, that when I die I would be filled with surprises. In this article we will be looking at different ideas of God and seek the One True God. I must however, acknowledge the complexity of divinity as Berkhof puts it, “God is Incomprehensible One, but also on the other hand, that He can be known…” (Berkhof, 1941). My prayer is that you will read this article with a very prayerful, humble and expectant heart, that is ready to believe and pursue the One True God regardless of your background.
The existence of God
Many people groups in the world, including Africans acknowledge the existence of God. We acknowledge the existence of God simply because of general revelation e.g. the fascinating nature and also because of our conscience. There is no way we can explain this honestly and accurately without acknowledging the Supreme Being behind this captivating creation. Obviously, there are atheists, people who do not believe in God, his existence and neither in the creation, but they believe in what they call “big bang” and other theories, alike. Our mission for today is not to prove the existence of God, though He does exist, but to help those who believe in a Supreme being to shape their understanding of God and seek to worship this One and only True God, the Creator of this wonderful universe.
The African Tradition Religion (ATR) and Islam
There are many religions in the world today namely; Hindu, Islam, ATR, Judaism, Christianity, etc. Interestingly all those religions claim to be worshiping the true God, the creator of the universe, the right way. This made me wonder about the truth in that postmodernism ideology. Evidently, all people are worshippers, no wonder there are many religions and wherever you go on this planet, you will find people worshipping something or someone. Sadly, there is also a problem. All religions put together contradict each other. The problem has to do with our human nature and truth. The multi religion came about as a result of human beings looking for their way home, in their blindness. Multi religion is a spiritually blind man trying to find God and will never get it right. When we look at world religion, we can agree that we cannot all be right about the true God, some got it wrong and one got it right. Why am I saying this? Because our views of God are all different, therefore all of us cannot be right.
For example, let us look at the God of Africans, the common belief in the whole of Africa is the ancestral worship as mediators between people and God. Since we Africans couldn’t find the way to God our forefathers came up with the idea of ancestors, whereby we can talk to God through the “living dead”. What is interesting though, is the fact that for some reason ancestral worship does work. If for example, you take a sick person to their ancestors, the ancestors will ask the supreme being to heal this person and he will do so. To add to that, the god of Africans seems to be powerful, since he also displays forces against witchcraft. Does that mean that the god of Africa is the One true God? That is a good question, but let us look at another belief shortly before we conclude.
The god of Islam known as Allah, is believed to be a Supreme being and the only true God, because the Muslims believed that he is the one who created the universe and reveled scripture to Mohammed through the angel Gabriel. There is something very interesting about Allah. He claims to be the only true God and that other gods are idols beside him. He warned all Muslims to, “Kill those who join other gods with Allah wherever you find them; besiege them, seize them, lay in wait for them with every kind of ambush” Sura 9:5. Islam also encourages those that do not believe in Allah or Islamic to be killed. “When you encounter the unbeliever, strike off their heads until ye have made a great slaughter among them” Sura 9:29. (Nehls, 1987). Allah claims exclusivity, we are either Muslims or else we are doomed, that is what the verse in the Qur’an is saying.
The God of the Bible
Let us look at the God of the Bible, the God of Jesus Christ briefly. Berkhof states that God of Christianity “reveled Himself in the Logos (Word), and can therefore be known unto salvation.” (Berkhof, 1958). The God of Christianity is the God that clearly speaks to his people through his written word. In His Word He claims to be the Creator of the universe, the One and Only True God (Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:1-6). God who reached out to his people when he provided for them garments of skin, Genesis 3:21 and continues to reach out to many, like Abraham, the Israelites and all of us through Jesus Christ.
Looking at the state of humanity, as a lost being who will never find his/her way back to God in his blindness, it makes sense to believe that God sent his Son Jesus Christ to come and look for what is lost. Let us look at how God revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus is God
Firstly, Jesus Christ was more than being the good person that he was, but he is also God, because God of the Bible is Triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Therefore, God came to share our nature through the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the verses that clearly tell us about the divinity of Jesus Christ is John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was I am” Stott explained this verse saying ““I am”’ implies a claim not only to eternity but also to deity. I am is the divine Name by which God had revealed himself to Moses “I AM WHO I AM”” (Stott, 2008). God therefore, revealed himself to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the difference between Christianity and other religions. In other religions people seek for God, but in Christianity this is vice versa. God looks for us, this is shown in the personal life and work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Savior
Two of many attributes of the One true God is Justice and grace. God is JUST and justice demands the punishment of sin; on the other hand, he is also gracious and loving. By Jesus dying on the cross of Calvary we see the Justice and grace of God meeting. Justice in the sense that God is punishing sin and grace because he is punishing our sin and not that of Jesus. This is because Jesus is perfect, holy and sinless. As Packer puts it, “The cross of Christ has many facets of meaning. As our sacrifice for sins, it was propitiation, as our propitiation it was reconciliation, as reconciliation the cross was redemption rescue from bondage and misery by the payment of a price.” (Packer, 2009). Jesus absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf, if God laid his wrath on us then none of us could live. I agree with Stott who said that, “God’s purpose of love was to save sinners, and to save them righteously; but this would be impossible without the sin bearing death of the savior.” (Stott, 1986) Looking at gods of other religions, there is no Just and gracious God, like the God of Christianity as a matter of fact some “gods” are not concerned with sin and it’s punishment and that should bring questions into our minds about their authenticity.
Jesus is the only way to God
08 April 2020 was declared a National Prayer Day, in Namibia by his excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob. Bishop Sageus /Keib of ELCRN led the prayer. In his prayer, he however, mentioned something that was contrary to the scripture and obviously to the Christian faith. “As Christians and as people of other faiths we are all serving one Living God. To be in contact with the Living God we are call(ed) upon on the basis of our faith to be prayerful…nation and as church in temples and in mosques.” (Presidency, 2020) he prayed.
This ideology acknowledges that there is only one True God, but it implies that there are many ways to God, which is called pluralism. Pluralism is not just unbiblical to the Christian standpoint, but it is humanly illogical for it omits the law of non-contradiction. It does not make sense for God to come from heaven through Jesus Christ to share humanity, suffer, bear the wrath of God, to die a shameful death like a criminal, rise again to finish the work of salvation and to take away the sins of those that believe in him (Jesus). It was then unnecessary and useless for Jesus to do what he did (coming into flesh, suffer, die and raise from the dead) if other ways and faiths can get us to the One True and Living God. One of few things that lead us to pluralism is our narrow understanding of the agony of the Cross of Christ.
Therefore, when Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT through me” he took us to the seriousness of God’s Justice and grace. There is no way we will see God, unless we believe in his Son who came to look for us and save us. It is not surprising to believe in pluralism, because pluralism is accepted as a postmodern concept of individualism that treasures tolerance and taken to be non-offensive. We should however, understand that this world is corrupt, and our understanding of God is corrupt until God explains it to us in his Word. It thus, goes without saying, if we want to know the One and Only True God we must study the entire Bible faithfully and whenever we contradict our Master Jesus Messiah we must know that we have gone wrong, as such, we should turn back to him as soon we can, in repentance.
Slight comparison between Christianity to Islamic faith
Briefly, let us compare the two religions (Islam and Christianity). Jesus is the Messiah, the long-promised king to the Jews who was to come and deal with sin and Satan. He did that on the Cross. One of the things that we all agree on is the calendar the moment that Jesus was born. People started over again, this is why we have BC (Before Christ) and AD (in the year of our Lord). Islam came 600 years later as Tennent puts it, “Over a period of time from 610 when he received his first revelation to his death in 632, Muhammad had a number of revelations which today compose the 114 chapters or Surahs known as the Qur’an.” (Tennent, 2017). This tells us that Muhammad came later after the Messiah ascended to heaven and closed the cannon of scripture. Paul, in Galatians warns the Christians “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse.” Galatians 1:6-9.Here the Apostle Paul is making it very clear that it is either Jesus or nothing. We should understand that the apostle Paul was a dedicated Jew and he understood that Jesus was the one who was to come therefore, “there is no other name above the name of Jesus”.
World religion and the uniqueness of Christian faith
Lastly, let’s take a quick tour into world religion and see what makes Christianity unique. As I mentioned before, all religions are different and seek to worship the one true God, there is also something common to many of them. Most religions do have a place for Jesus in their systems, as Sinkinson stated “The Eastern religions recognize him (Jesus) as a guru… Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet… contemporary Jewish thinkers have been more positive about Jesus” (Sinkinson, 2012). In ATR Jesus is regarded as an ancestor to some. Now this shows us that Jesus is somehow unique, but that does not qualify us to trust Jesus. What makes him unique then? Firstly, what makes Jesus one of a kind is his resurrection, as Sinkinson puts it “The resurrection was not merely Jesus’ survival through a near-death experience… the resurrection of Jesus was a first glimpse into the new creation which his teaching on the kingdom proclaimed” (Sinkinson, 2012). That is the difference between the resurrection of Jesus and of Lazarus. If Jesus truly rose from the dead, which is the case, we have to pay attention to his teaching, which is the teaching of the Christian faith. Secondly, Jesus is the Son of God. As Carson after careful exegesis of Biblical texts concluded “Jesus is not the Son of God by virtue of being the ultimate Israel, nor is he the Son of God by virtue of being the Messiah, the ultimate Davidic king, nor is he the Son of God by virtue of being a perfect human being. Rather, he is the Son of God from eternity, simultaneously distinguishable from his heavenly Father yet one with him, the perfect Revealer of the living God.” (Carson, 2012). That makes Jesus extremely unique and that makes his disciples (the church) follow the true Son of God and most definitely worship the one True God. We should trust Christianity because of Jesus. There is no better movement nor religion that has faithfully understood Jesus, the Son of God other than faithful Christians. Therefore, Jesus’ uniqueness makes Christianity unique and true.
In Conclusion, there is Only One True God the maker of the universe and he has and must have all the attributes of a Supreme being, that includes Justice and Grace. Comparing the different “Gods” from different religions, if we are honest enough, we are able to see clearly, that these “Gods” are different and according to my analysis only the God of Christianity makes sense to be true. Now, this leaves us in a dilemma, because people from other faiths and cults like African Tradition Religions, Islam, Jehovah’s witness, etc. are either worshipping idols or they have a wrong understanding of God and eventually offering wrong worship in a way which is unacceptable to God. As apostle Paul clarified in his first letter to Timothy, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim. 2:5. There is no other way of worshiping the One True God apart from Jesus Christ.
I therefore plea that we all come to God; incarnate Jesus the Messiah, the Only and True way to the One and Only True God. For faithful followers of Jesus Christ, as revealed in Holy Scripture, I would like to encourage you to hold onto our King. He is the Truth. The Son of God.
Berkhof, L., 1941. Systematic Theology. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust.
Carson, D. A., 2012. Jesus the Son of God. Illinois: Crossway.
Nehls, G., 1987. Christians ask Muslims. Bellville: Evangelical Mission Press.
Packer, J. I., 2009. Growing in Christ. Vereeninging: Christian Art Publisher.
Presidency, T., 2020. NAMPA TV: COVID-19 National Prayer. [Sound Recording] (Namibia Press Agency).
Sinkinson, C., 2012. Confident Christianity. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press.
Stott, J., 1986. The Cross of Christ. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press.
Stott, J., 2008. Basic Christianity. Michigan: Inter-Varsity Press.
Tennent, T., 2017. Essential of Islam, Camas: BiblicalTraining.org.