A common argument against the exclusivity of God in general or Christianity in particular is simply panoramic view of man without regard at all for what God may or may not think. In fact, in an organization dedicated to proselytizing the world with the gospel of pluralism, The Pluralist Model of Religion assert in their key principles that “The great world religions with their diverse teachings and practices constitute authentic paths to the supreme good.”
reasoning from the ground up-
This worldview is reasoning from the ground up instead of heaven down. It only makes sense that humanity would conclude such things if they just look around at one another and say, “We can’t all be wrong…right?” Of course not. So instead of humanity compromising their differences, they decide to make God more tolerant, and then they can be more tolerant too, as they try to be more like what they think God is like…right?” Who is going to take issue with a God that looks just like them, accepts everyone, and makes no real authoritative demands upon anyone?
The problem is, the God who made the world and all things in it, is not silent about these things. In fact, with an honest reading of the Bible one would conclude that God is in fact quite obsessed with this issue of his supremacy, his glory and his particulars. God is overly sensitive with having his character and will treated like pottery, molded and shaped into conformity to the mind of the potter. Indeed God graciously condescends to his creation and warns them of such dangerous pottery projects:
Psalm 50:21…You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
reasoning from the revelation of God down-
There is a real need as to why God revealed himself: he is different than us! This is key. For if God was just like us what would we need him for anyway? Indeed our finiteness in the shadow of his infiniteness is an echoing cry for revelation.
God is Eternal
Psalm 90:2 2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
God has no beginning and no end; “the number of his years is unsearchable” (Job 36.26). He is transcendent, that is he is outside of time, space, & history; wholly set apart as distinct from creation. How could we, people who have a start and end date, and with everything around us dying, how could we come to terms with this without God, being eternal and transcendent, revealing it to us? We are trapped in the box of our finiteness, darkened by our own intellectual limitations, groping as blind men for the light of heaven.
God is Infinite
1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!
Psalm 113:4 The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.
God cannot be bound by anyone or anything. Is being is unfathomable. We cannot exhaust the riches of infinite wisdom, nor can we know the depths of his infinite goodness. However, by the grace of God, he has revealed himself. The infinite God has revealed himself in terms that we can understand so that we the finite creation can obey the infinite God.
Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
God is Self-Existent
Acts 17:25 nor is he [God] served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
When Moses asked God his name that he might tell his brethren, God replied, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3.14). Meaning, I alone am YHWH the self-existent. You want to know who I am? Says God, I am indefinable in terms of everything you see…you have no category for the great “I am”….I am transcendent, I am who I am!
God is not dependant upon anyone or anything to accomplish his will…he is completely independent. I love this verse because it clearly portrays God as a big God, not as one who is somehow sitting all alone in heaven without any friends….Rather…God is eternally enthralled the glorious divine beauty of the godhead. He needs nothing. God is not co-dependant upon mankind to fill his emotional deficiency. God’s happiness did not depend upon creating mankind….Rather, he created out of happiness in himself, and appraised his creation as good (Genesis 1.31) and likewise redemption, God has redeemed not because we were so lovely as sinners, but to exalt his glorious grace in the saving of such unlovely people (Ephesians 1.4-6).
God is Unchanging
Malachi 3:6 6 “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
James 1:17 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
This serves as a remarkably comforting reality to those who follow God and likewise a dreadful reality to those who would not submit to him. God does not change; we do not have God evolving, updating to a “new” model of deity, or coming out with some new divine version…instead we have a God who boasts in his immutability. He changes not.
Imagine the dread of finding out that after 10,000 years of worshipping God in heaven that he changed and became evil and cast all from heaven to hell! This is not God. God is good and does good, he does not change, he does not have an identity crisis. The God who spoke to Abraham and called him to follow him in faith is the God who now beckons all of humanity, from the pages of scripture, to follow him.
The application of these few divine realities of how God can be known and understood today in terms of biblical revelation (exclusivist thought) will be the focus in the next few posts.