Purpose of this Session
To give brief consideration to the various non-Christian views of God.
Theistic Non-Christian Views of God
“there is a god or gods”
“Pan” meaning all, “theos” meaning god. Basically holds that all is god and god is all. Views all finite beings as part of a cosmic eternal self-existent being. In this, trees, flowers, planets etc are all part of god, and god exists in all of these things…
In attempting to find god in Creation, pantheism makes the creation god. In trying to find god in all things, they have made all things god.
“poly” meaning many, “theism” meaning “god”. The belief in and worship of many gods. Most ancient religions and cultures were polytheistic. Polytheistic religions such as Hinduism still exist today.
Scripture clearly denounces the worship of many gods. To worship any but the One True God is idolatry and comes under the curse and wrath of God. (Exodus 20:3)
Holds that there are two distinct principles or gods of eternal and equal power in the universe who are at war with each other.
The theory that God is present in his creation by his power, but not His Person. It holds that God set the universal laws in motion at creation and then left the universe to run itself by these laws.
Non-Theistic Views of God
“there is no god”
i. Practical atheism
One who believes there may be a god but lives as if there is none.
ii. Dogmatic atheism
One who openly declares his disbelief in the existence of God.
iii. Virtual atheism
One who generates abstract definitions of god such as “the unknowable”, “the moral order of the universe”. Such definitions are so obscure that the proponent is virtually atheistic in their belief system.
iv. Critical atheism
Denies the existence of God in that is existence cannot be demonstrated or proved.
v. Rationalistic or humanistic atheism
This view enthrones man’s reason and dethrones faith in the existence of God as a Supreme reality. It claims that man is the measure of all things and reason the only source of knowledge.
Atheism effectively makes man his own god.
Holds that no one can know if God exists or not. It neither denies nor affirms the existence of God. A Gnostic is a “knowing one”. An Agnostic is one who affirms that “cannot know” or that he “knows nothing”.
Agnosticism is a wilful ignorance which suppresses the truth.
In conclusion to this section it must be highlighted that our position as believers in Christ is entirely by the Lord’s gracious choosing. Paul eloquently describes our position before the Lord revealed Himself to our heart (NB: Review “Module One Lesson 2: The Doctrine of Revelation” for a fuller explanation of our undeserved and privileged position):
“Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s anger just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favour that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favour and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:1-7 NLT)
Instead of taking a position of pride, we are called to humble ourselves in a place of intercession before God on behalf of those who remain in darkness.
It must also be noted that it is rarely by clever arguments for or against God’s existence that we will win the hearts of our unbelieving friends, but by demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1Cor 2:4-5 NKJV)
As Dr Ed Cole once said, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” As Christians, who have been transformed by an encounter with the reality of God, we must seek to bring others into a similar experience of the Living God, for the Kingdom does not consist of mere words, it is based not on talk but power (1 Cor 4:20).