Do Christians worship the one and only God?
Published: 27 July 2013 (GMT+10)
D.H. from Canada writes:
I know this isn’t science related but I’m hoping you guys can help me. I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I thought I knew how to answer most questions. Because of your ministry I can argue quite well against evolution and atheism. But today I was asked the most basic question of all, and I couldn’t answer it in a way that satisfied even myself. After pointing out that the other gods people worshiped were either man made or demons posing as gods, he asked how I knew I was worshiping the true God. I assume he worshiped a different god and wanted to know what made my God different. Aside from a personal experience of God, I couldn’t answer him. And really, if I was following the wrong god, couldn’t I have a personal experience of the wrong God? I’m not worried that I am, I’m worried that I can’t answer that.
I respect you guys and your knowledge of the Bible, so I hope that you are able to help.
Lita Cosner replies:
Thanks for writing in. This is actually an important question: How do we know we worship the true God? We stake our eternal destiny and live our lives based on our fundamental belief that the Bible tells us who God is and how we should worship Him and live in relation to Him. So what evidence do we have that it is true (and thus, that the God the Bible reveals is the true God)?
First, the Bible is an incredibly accurate historical record. Over and over, people, places, and events that only it attested to have been corroborated by mainstream archaeology. At the very least, it is on par with other ancient records (and we would argue it is quite a bit more than that!). Second, it is internally consistent, which is remarkable considering that its 66 books were written by different people in different circumstances separated by centuries and cultures. Consider: Moses, the Egyptian prince turned shepherd, agrees with the fisherman Peter and the career prophet Isaiah. The tax collector Matthew agrees with the Pharisee-turned-evangelist Paul. In all these divergent individuals, we don’t get errors cropping in–for instance, Egyptian medical superstition or the Pharisees’ oral tradition, or just common misconceptions of their day that were shared among ancient cultures.
But I think Jesus is the best witness we have. We know that the Gospels were written too soon after the events to have been fabricated; there were many witnesses still living when the Gospels were written and began to circulate; the location of His tomb would have still been common knowledge, and people would have known if there was a body in it. Jesus corroborated Scripture at every point, and pointed people to what had been written. Most of His teaching was not totally new, but based on the logical outcome of a belief and practice of what God had already revealed in the light of the coming Kingdom of God. And Jesus did what no one else in history has done; He was resurrected in a body that will never die again. This serves as the ultimate authentication of His claims, because God would never resurrect someone like that who was a liar or a false witness. And if Jesus’ claims are true, as His resurrection shows, then we can also trust His teachings, and His promise that we will be resurrected at His second coming.
I hope these few thoughts are helpful.
A few proofs that Jesus (Yeshua) is God are necessary to articulate in terms of our hope that is otherwise in vain (1 Cor. 15:17; 1 Pet. 3:15). The first witnesses of the empty tomb and the resurrected Messiah were women, most notably Mary Magdalene – in all probability a former prostitute (e.g. Mark 16:9; Luke 24:10; John 20:14-18). If the gospels were a hoax, the narrative would not have included women (let alone one of disrepute) in its account, as their testimony carried no weight in Jewish custom. Furthermore, Jesus’ disciples (apostles) would not have died martyr deaths for a lie. John was the exception, but rumour has it that he was put in boiling oil and miraculously survived, hence his exile to Patmos. The apostles genuinely believed that Jesus rose from the dead, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah and Jesus himself (e.g. Isa. 49:7; Matt. 16:21). An obvious proof is the Roman guard (Matt. 27:66) of 100-600 soldiers who would’ve faced execution for their perceived failure, as borne out in Matthew 28:11-15. Therefore, apart from a personal conviction by the working of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 1:13-14), our faith in Christ is well founded indeed!
When I was agnostic I found belief in any God difficult because of this question. How could I know I picked the "right' God because each religion seemed so certain of their "true' God? I figured I would just do my best to live a moral life and hope it was good enough to keep me from any nasty surprises when I die. Then one day, almost out of the blue, Jesus put his hand on me and said I could believe in him. I immediately began to read the bible and search for a church community. I've still not picked a church but I've met some wonderful Christians who patiently answer my questions and websites like this one which support my study. Besides being certain that Jesus called me on that day I have looked for the pivotal reason to believe the God of the bible is the one true God. For me it is 1. Jesus Christ is a historical figure, many non-Christian sources attest to his life and death. 2. His disciples and converts were so convinced of the miracles, the resurrection and truth of his Word they were prepared to die for it and go to great lengths to keep the faith. 3. Prophesy of details of The Messiah hundreds of years before his birth in the OT. 4. Jesus said we can believe in Him and if we know him we know God. 5. God told us He is The One and He is a jealous God. Many others but not enough space.
Do we have a monopoly on truth? The Lord Jesus thought so..."I am the way, the truth and the life". But how do I know that the Bible is true? Well I have a thinking friend (he happens also to be Muslim) who I discuss this very question with regularly. My conclusion after 8 months talking with my friend every day, is that only the Lord can convince anyone (me??) of His truth. My friend sent me a list of "contradictions" from and atheist website and asked me to answer them. I responded "Well, if I answer the first 5 and can show that the Bible is consistent, will that do? Or do you want 10 or do u want 50....? " I then turned the tables around on him...I emailed him and said, "So here is a website (there are many) purporting to show that the Koran has many inconsistencies and contradictions. See what you can do with that". I then called to see him an hour later. He was feverishly beavering away trying to answer the 1st question in the list. And he was exhausted by the effort, but was enjoying it too. I said, "My friend, I can tell you the answer now as to what you will find. YOU will find no inconsistencies in the Koran. And I will find no inconsistencies in the Bible. Because if we truly believe that our books are the Word of God, then by necessary consequence they cannot contain any contradictions."
So, what can change my friend's mind about the Koran or Bible? I can tell you now. None of the arguments of any atheist or skeptic. My friend will work feverishly to defend his belief academically. Does that mean I will not share the Bible with him any more because it's essentially a lost cause? Never! Will he ever try and give up on me about the Koran? Never!:)
But there is Someone else who can raise dead sinners... John 1:11, 12 "....They were born of God". Heb.11:6 HTH
Excellent. Also, ultimately the message of the bible is that our minds are fallen and therefore not to be trusted: we can only rely on the revealed Word of God, so we can't discover anything really true outside of the bible's umbrella.
This being admitted, it's a take it or leave it scenario: the individual bits of the bible can't be confirmed by humanistic testing because, by definition, humanistic testing isn't capable of returning a meaningful confirmation.
IE. "I know that science is true" is a meaningless statement because 'science' involves concepts that are only found within the bible, like a rational universe, objective meaning, actual physical existence. If we deny the bible, we can't then make scientific statements with any consistency.
Lita your answer is good but not thorough
it grants that reason is reasonable but this can only be if God exists and has revealed himself to all men so we know it for sure (as Romans 1 says He made it plain)
At face value arguing with the unbeliever as per your response is granting him/her that his ability to reason is the ultimate standard (and all the necessary things this entails like contradiction / uniformity / existence of truth are accepted as true without accounting for them - not honoring only possible source )
If the Bible is not true we cannot know anything for history is an expression of God's will
We can only know anything if we start with God (Prov 1:7) knowledge is thus preceded by rectitude / humility / submission (John 7:17, John 8:32)
this rectitude is in turn supported by Faith (2 Peter 1:5)
and faith is a gift from God that requires a complete turn around in thinking (repentance)
as summarized in 2 Tim 2:25
if we can reason to God we can reason away from Him
If we admit we can do nothing apart from Him, (John 15:5) therefore including reasoning then He gives us a sound mind that can never be shaken.
The unbelieving worldview asks foolish undisciplined questions that if taken at face value lead to quarrels.
We must expose to them that on their own assumptions they cannot know anything
eg. if everything is chance then everything is ultimately mysterious and therefore unknowable
Yet they do know things because God is true and they are image bearers and He has revealed Himself clearly
anyway i appreciate what you do and thank you for your work and many thoughtful and excellent responses
i desire only to perhaps aid with what God has shown me.
As you and CMI have done and continue to help me improve my reasoning to be more Christlike
Radical presuppositionalism would agree that "if the Bible is not true then we cannot know anything." But I can know that 2+2=4 regardless of what the Bible says. And Romans 1 seems to condemn unbelievers for what they should have perceived from creation. But surely they can only be judged if they could have, in principle, seen it.
We're aware that some Christian authors, including a popular creationist author, promote this sort of thinking. But we believe that while God's thoughts are infinitely higher than ours, He has given us the same logic. So God's reasoning is not inherently of a different kind than ours; His is simply perfect and omniscient, while ours is limited and flawed at times. See Loving God with all your mind.
All the same, the article was not really about this issue, so let's not stray too far into left field with this topic.
I would ask;
what other God(s) is as consistent with the world we live in?
Not the materialistic one, not Allah, not Zeus.
Only the Biblical God.
Do Christians worship the one and only [true] God?
This is how I have satisfied my conscience that I am on the right path:
‘Is there a father among you who will offer his son a snake when he asks for a fish, or a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you, then, bad as you are, know how to give your children what is good for them, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ — Lk§11:11-13
Do I trust the Father to keep me from falling into error when I ask that of him?