Are the “Gods” of Islam, Mormonism, and Freemasonry, etc. the same as the God of the Bible? It really isn’t all that difficult to check it out!
President Bush has notoriously said that he believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Richard Land retorted, “That’s why President Bush is our Commander in Chief and not our Theologian in Chief!”
But it raises an important issue. There are many people who assume that they are worshipping the God of the Bible, but who are really worshipping other gods. We are talking about pretty serious stuff here. If the enemy (the devil) can convince us that we are worshipping the God of the Bible when we are really worshipping a totally different god, according to the Bible that spells major problems!
When God says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) He was supremely serious. When He said “before me” He didn’t mean “I have to be first and the other gods can be 2nd god, 3rd god, or 4th god.” He meant “Thou shalt have no other gods in My face.” He is saying “I am God, period.”
He says it this way in Isaiah, “I am the Lord [YAHWEH], and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 45:5)
It is a theme that runs through Scripture.
So how can we know whether others, who claim to worship “God,” are really worshipping the God of the Bible or not?
It’s pretty easy to determine. All we have to do is quit making superficial assumptions and dig around a little.
The Bible makes it very clear what God is like. And other religions make it plain what their god is like. And when the two don’t match up very closely, it’s pretty safe to assume we are not talking about the same God!
For example, the Bible clearly teaches that God is Triune. He is One God who manifests Himself in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly teaches the attributes and characteristics of God. Not only is He the Creator and Sustainer of His creation; Not only is He a God of love, mercy, longsuffering, tender kindness, and compassion; Not only is He a God of infinite power and might; Not only is He a God of infinite wisdom, understanding and knowledge of every detail of every moment of His creation; Not only is He Eternal; Not only is He immutable (unchanging)… But He is also a God who hates sin and will judge all unrepentant sinners who reject the offer of salvation which He offers only through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
When other systems, religions, and even individuals talk about “god,” quite often they will admit that they are not talking about the God I have just described.
As three examples, consider the “gods” of Islam, Mormonism, and Freemasonry. If you would like more information, I have included some relevant links to Probe Ministries articles. (Probe Ministries does a great job of summarizing research into various religious beliefs.)
To Muslims, Allah is always far away from his followers. He is distant. It is impossible to have a personal relationship with him. He does not love sinners. His relationship to his people is master to slave (not Father to child!). To Muslims, the doctrine of the trinity is repulsive. Their “god” is unitarian. Jesus is not God the Son. Obviously, This “god” is not the God of the Bible! (Probe Ministries: Islam and Political Correctness)
Mormons believe there are an infinite number of “gods.” Even though they claim to worship only the “god” who presides over this earth, they believe that there are many “gods” ruling over other planets throughout the universe. As far as earth is concerned, they are “tri-theistic.” They worship the “god” who is the father, the “god” who is the son, and the “god” who is the holy spirit… as three separate “gods.” They believe that “god” was once a literal man who “grew” into god-hood. That many people will one day become “gods” themselves and rule over their own planets. And on and on it goes. Obviously, this “god” (or “these gods”) is not the God of the Bible! (Probe Ministries: The Mormon Doctrine of God)
Freemasons worship a “god” that they call “G.A.O.T.U.” (The Great Architect of the Universe). Masonic writers claim that he is above all other gods, including the Christian God. Official Freemasonry does not acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as God. The Freemasonry “god” does not manifest himself as the Triune God (i.e., Freemasonry is not Trinitarian.) The Masonic “god” offers promotion to the celestial lodge after death not to those who put their faith in Christ, but to those who are good masons and live pure lives. While many lodge members may deny that they personally believe in this Masonic god, the truth is that they belong to an organization whose “god” is not the God of Scripture. (Probe Ministries: Freemasonry and the Christian Church)
Many Other Americans
Many Americans acknowledge the existence of a “god” that they have concocted in their imagination. They believe that he will take them to heaven when they die because they are better than most people, or better than they used to be, or because they feel that they do more good than bad, or even because He is so loving that he will simply take everyone to heaven however they have lived their lives on earth. They do not really believe he is all that serious about sin. If you suggest that God is a Just Judge Who will pour out His wrath upon unrepentant sinners, they might say, “Not my god! My god is a god of love!” They assume and hope that their “god” will simply overlook their sins. Undoubtedly, if you have conversed with many people about God, you will have talked with some whose “god” is this sugary, syrupy, cosmic Santa Claus. Certainly, he is not the God of the Bible.
Obviously a discussion of these “gods” could go on and on. However, the main point I am trying to make here is that when two people both say, “I believe in God,” it is pretty naive to assume that we have discovered some kind of great common ground!
How We can Respond as Christians
If we hear someone claim to believe in God, we must not be too quick to assume that they are talking about the God of the Bible.
We must love people, regardless of what “god” they believe in.
We must not confuse “loving people” with “accepting whatever they believe.” We can, and must, lovingly communicate Biblical truth about God. Remember, “tolerance” includes loving people whatever they believe and it includes respecting their freedom to believe whatever they believe. But it does not mean that we have to accept their version of truth as being as valid as our own.
We must make it our lifetime goal to get to know the God of the Bible better and better.
We should test our own ideas about what God is like against the teaching of Scripture. Maybe our own understanding of God needs some adjusting!
God is infinite. Those of us who have a personal relationship with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ, will spend an eternity getting to know Him more and more fully. What a wonderful privilege we have to start now!
Stay in the Battle!