In my last post I put forward the Bible's claim that “no one seeks for God”, and I made the point that God is the one who does the seeking after us. Now we might question the idea that “no one seeks for God”. After all, there are many, many religions in the world. Isn't that evidence that billions of people are seeking “God” - trying to find Him in “this” or in “that” religion? Well, that's one way to look at it. Another is to look at all the religions of the world and see them as evidence of mankind's effort to escape from God by trying to create an alternative to the one true God. The Bible says:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him … they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator... (Romans 1:21, 25)
All other religions worship a god that is a lie and cannot be the true Creator. Whenever a religion worships something that is itself created (like animals, or stone idols, or the stars), that god cannot be the true God because it is, itself, a created thing. How can a created thing be the creator of all things? How can an animal that dies, for example, be above the rest of creation? Or how can a rock, which cannot see or speak, be the creator of man who can see and speak? Or how can the stars and planets, like the one we walk upon, be our creator? Such religions must be false. But to worship those things over which we have dominion is a very comfortable substitute for God, because it gives us dominion over that god.
Other religions might worship invisible “gods”, but they can be shown to be a lie as well because the character of those gods do not agree with the character of the one true God, as He reveals it in His creation. Jesus said, for example:
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)
Jesus is telling us to love our enemies like God does. And Jesus shows us that we know this is what God's character is like by looking at the order of His Creation... “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good”. This is one example where, if the god of a certain religion did not want us to love our enemies, we would know that particular god was not the true God, based on what creation itself tells us about God.
In Jesus' day the religious leaders of the time were called Pharisees, and they certainly believed that they knew God. Yet they were plotting to kill Jesus at that time. In John 8 they say to Jesus “We have one Father - even God.” But Jesus replies, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. … You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8:41-45)
Now of course, other religions and world views aren't completely false. They don't oppose everything that Christianity teaches. Mankind knows the truth but corrupts and distorts it. I can't imagine that anyone, wherever you are in the world, would disagree with me if I said that murder is wrong. All people, everywhere, know this. How does this become a universal belief for all mankind? It is because God has given us all this innate understanding of His character. But Jesus teaches us that to be consistent with this truth we wouldn't even hate another person. We corrupt the truth by saying that it's ok to hate, but hate is a kind of "murder in one's heart". If a man claims to know God, and yet desires to murder someone in his heart, he demonstrates that his god is not the true God, because we know that God loves and does not hate, or murder. “Well, what about God's various commandments to put people to death in the Bible?” one might object. We shall therefore discuss that tomorrow. Until then...
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! (Psalm 40:4)