No one else but God Part 2
By Craig Funston
See, I told you you it would take more than one column to get this first one going.
I want to maintain the balance between simple concepts and heavy-duty theology. I’m probably more the simple-concept type of guy; as well, this is not a religious column, I need wisdom (and you need patience) in this approach.
“Only God is God” denotes God doesn’t brook any competition. He acknowledges other small-g gods, but no other big-g gods. That’s foundational to grasping these Commandments.
It’s a heady standard, but He expects willing and complete allegiance, Scripture does not envision part-time followers. There are no Sunday believers, then live like the devil Monday through Saturday.
Okay, you probably do know those type, so let me re-phrase it: The life of genuine faith is a seven-day a week lifestyle. Nothing else will do. If there are those who try to serve God and gods, there is a strong likelihood they are not true believers.
He is fully aware other concepts, and movements, but there is only one Him (really bad grammar, but great theology). I am not trying to prove He exists. I am working with the assumption that He does, then move on from there.
“No other gods” (lower case “g” intentional) suggests that there are other gods, other deities, in the world. History is replete with their names and their character. I speak in particular of the gods of the Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, as examples.
He is not another version or a different religion’s god. He is completely different in a superior and greater way. If you have some discretionary time on your hands, check and compare. I have examined a number of them myself.
Total allegiance is not a foreign concept: Marriages do not survive when there is divided affection; the same can be said about work, play, teams, citizenship, and politics.
The God of the Bible is an eternal, perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present Being. I am coming from a certain premise that He exists, has always existed, and will always exist. You may not see that, may not even care, or take a polar opposite view.
That opposite view may take the form of atheism or pantheism– “no God” for the former and “God is in everything” for the latter. That’s fine, in the sense people are free to believe what they believe, but, as you know, all beliefs have consequences.
A walk outside in the dead of winter with the belief that one can wear inadequate clothing has consequences; a swim in a shark-infested river has consequences. You may believe all is well in the area of spirituality, but the focus is not your faith—it’s the truth or object of your faith.
To repeat: The God of the Bible will accept no competitors. This is the essence of this first commandment. We discover that He is the creator of all things (another serious worldview clash in how we view the origins of the world), He is also the ruler of the universe, and in Him “we live and move and have our being.” That was one of many profound statements made by a radical rabbi who was converted to Christ, when he spoke at a Grecian speakeasy 2,000 years ago.
My simple point (hopefully not too simple) is that there is a premise of the existence of God in historical, cultural writings. That premise is then accepted or rejected, based on individual’s belief system.
There are two tracks here: Either God exists or He doesn’t. If He does exist, then His existence is expressed in the rest of the Commandments, with unparalleled benefits for the our culture, and by extension, the whole world.
“No God,” and it falls apart. “Know God,” and it’s the most powerful and meaningful motivation for everything good.