The Same God or Different? (Part 2)

“Surely we all worship the same God don’t we?” This is another perspective on the “Which  God?” debate. Is it right for Christians to think of other religions (especially Abrahamic ones) as having essentially the same God.

Here are some things to consider.

1. Are we both describing a God who is Transcendent and Imminent:  Personal, knowable, eternal, all knowing,  all powerful, sovereign, infinite? It will be clear as we talk to someone, even people that they don’t believe in the same God. Their god is either different because he is really not imminent not knowable but at a distance or because he lacks true transcendence, he is not really infinite, he is under some constraint. Often, a vital characteristic is removed from God’s essence. God may be powerful but lacks true eternal love or may be love but a vital characteristic, essential to his sovereignty such as foreknowledge is denied. Indeed  even some who would see themselves as Christians seem to worship a different god when it’s put that way.

2. However, as we talk with someone, we may realise that the God they believe in is truly Sovereign, truly eternal, truly love etc. At this stage it begins to sound like we are describing the same God. There’s one important thing to check here. When you consider what they believe  about what God is like and what God does, are they able to give a coherent account of how God is Infinite, eternal and personal. Do they actually tell a faithful story of his sovereignty,  holiness,  justice and love? Without the Doctrine of the Trinity and especially without the story of Christ’s incarnation, death resurrection and ascension, then I would suggest that they cannot give a full and faithful account of who God us.

So where does it leave us with our question. Is their God different or the same? I want to suggest that at the very least we are talking about a serious distortion of God, a corruption of his divine nature, a God made to conform to our finite and fallen standards. This means that when they seek to worship, they are not worshiping God as he truly is.

Dare I suggest that practically, there is very little distinction between a corruption of what we know about the one true God and selecting a completely different God? Both of these errors amount to idolatry.

A true worshipper seeks to know, love and serve God as he has revealed himself to us.