Who Is God?
Of the many gods that have existed and do exist, which one is the right One? How has he proved himself God before all creation?
ALMOST every conceivable thing known to man has, at one time or another, been worshiped as a god or a goddess. The sun, moon, stars and planets have all been objects of worship from time immemorial. Plants and animals, insects and reptiles, animate and inanimate creatures were all added to the collection of gods. Mosquitoes, flies, monkeys, boars, cobras and cows, trees and rivers are still numbered among the prominent gods of today. There seems to be no end to the making of gods.
Some people worshiped one God and had no idols, others worshiped millions of gods and had as many idols. King Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the disgusting thing of the Ammonites. Some women of Jerusalem worshiped Tammuz. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel worshiped Baal. King Jeroboam made the people bow down before golden calves. The Israelites even had their sons and their daughters pass through the fire to the god Molech. Babylon and Egypt had their many gods; Assyria and Persia, Greece and Rome all had gods of different names that they worshiped.
The modern world has its gods. For example, the Roman Catholic Church worships a triune god, a nameless god, referred to only by his titles such as “Lord,” “God,” “Father,” etc. He is looked upon by Catholics as both a loving and a vengeful god, blessing the good with heavenly bliss, purging the wrong-doers in a fiery purgatory and punishing the wicked for all eternity with excruciating pain in a hell-fire. Many Protestant denominations join the Roman Catholic Church in the worship of this nameless, triune god.
On the other hand, Christian Scientists maintain: “God is divine Mind, Soul, Spirit. He is Life, Truth, and Love. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; the only creator, the one cause, the All-in-all.”
The Eastern religions have many gods. The gods and goddesses in India alone have multiplied until today they have reached the number of some 330,000,000, and these are worshiped in thousands of temples, in many cases with images and rites that shock the decency of moral, self-respecting people.
Still Christians profess to worship only one God, as the apostle Paul declared to the Corinthians: “For even though there are those who are called ‘gods’, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’, there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.” But who is this one God?—1 Cor. 8:5, 6.
There is no doubt in our mind that he is the God of Jesus Christ, the God that raised Jesus from the dead; the God of faithful Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of Israel; the God of Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other faithful prophets; the One whom Moses confessed, David honored and Noah served; the God of the Holy Bible, whose name is Jehovah. “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to anyone else I shall not give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.” This name Jehovah appears more than 6,823 times in the Hebrew text of the Holy Scriptures. Of him the prophet Moses wrote: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.”—Isa. 42:8; Ps. 90:2.
THE APPEARANCE OF FALSE GODS
Noah survived the flood because he worshiped the true God Jehovah. He handed down the worship of the living God to his sons, but soon after the flood true worship degenerated into the false worship of many gods. The worship of Jehovah was neglected by those who began to worship the powers and objects of nature. As Paul the apostle declared: Men “exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the One who created, who is blessed forever. Amen.”—Rom. 1:23, 25.
In Ur of the Chaldeans, the land where Abram was born, people worshiped star-gods, because their leaders were great astrologers. Their gods, Assur and Kissar, were the works of their own hands. The Chaldeans also made the gods Anu, Bel and Baal and Hea. Jehovah proved himself supreme over all the gods of the Chaldeans when he frustrated their attempt to build the tower of Babel by confusing the languages of men.—Gen. 11:5-9.
When the descendants of Abraham journeyed down into Egypt, there they came across a whole selection of different gods. According to Wilkinson, Egypt had many gods, the greatest of whom were Neph, Amun, Pthah, Khem, Sati, Maut and Bubastis. Ra and Seb were the first of the second class of Egyptian deities. The Egyptians believed that Neph made the sun and moon revolve. Pthah was worshiped as the creator. Khem was the god of agriculture. Ra was worshiped as a sun-god and his son Seb represented time. The ancient Egyptians also worshiped a trinity made up of Osiris, Isis and Horus, namely, father, mother and son. This trinity is precisely the same as that worshiped in Christendom. It has been handed down from ancient Egypt and Babylon.
Jehovah vindicated his supremacy over all the gods of Egypt when he disgraced them with ten plagues and destroyed the Egyptian forces in the Red Sea. Following the Red Sea victory the Israelites sang to Jehovah’s praise: “This is my God, and I shall laud him; my father’s God, and I shall raise him on high. Jehovah is a manly person of war. Jehovah is his name. . . . Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah?” There is none.—Ex. 15:2, 3, 11.
Baal was a great god of the ancient Babylonians. He was also the god of the Assyrians, Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Even the Israelites strayed away to worship Baal. He was represented as a cruel god. To appease him little children were offered up as sacrifices. The priests of Baal cut themselves with knives and lancets until blood gushed out. Animals too were sacrificed to him in great numbers. A forty-foot-high statue made of gold served as a temple built to the worship of Baal in Babylon. Jehovah proved himself invincible before Baal when he had the prophets of Baal slain during Elijah’s time. Later, when the Babylonians went to worshiping Merodach as a god, King Nebuchadnezzar was forced to acknowledge Jehovah to be the true God, saying to the prophet Daniel: “Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings.”—Dan. 2:47, AS.
Even all the gods of the Assyrians proved themselves helpless before Jehovah when he routed their armies, destroying 185,000 of King Sennacherib’s troops in one night. Nisroch, the god of the Assyrian king, could not even save the king from assassination by his own sons.—Isa. 37:36-38.
MEDES, PERSIANS, GREEKS AND ROMANS
When the Medes and the Persians took over the world rulership new gods came to the fore. The Persian god Ormuzd became the supreme god to be worshiped. He was represented at times as a majestic man seated on a bull, the Persian emblem of creation. Mithra, the god-mediator symbolized by the sun, and Ahriman the prince of darkness, along with Ormuzd, formed the Persian trinity. Great ceremonies were held in Mithra’s honor on his birthday, which was the 25th of December, Christendom’s Christmas Day.
Despite the many gods of Persia, King Darius was made to recognize Daniel’s God Jehovah as the true God. Darius made a decree that said: “I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel’s God was Jehovah, God of faithful Israel.—Dan. 6:26, AS.
The ancient Greeks surpassed other nations in the number of gods they devised and worshiped. On Mount Olympus in Greece, during a brief period of time, some claim that there were 30,000 gods of various ranks. Grecian gods were personifications of nature’s forces. Gradually the Greeks had them evolve into representatives of human powers and passions. The Grecian gods then became idealized men and women, warm with life, having human adventures, wars and loves. Rome later accepted the Grecian gods, but called them by different names.
Saturn was worshiped for bringing a golden age to Rome. Once a year a seven-day celebration, called the Saturnalia, was held in his honor. Historians tell us that it was from this pagan festival, which was kept in December, that Christendom acquired its Christmas holiday.
Jehovah confounded the Grecian and Roman gods when he raised his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, from the death state to life again. Jesus Christ was the One whom the Roman soldiers had staked and mocked.
THE GODS OF INDIA AND CHINA
The gods of India were mostly abstractions. The ancient Hindus had many gods. Indra was believed to be the greatest of all gods. His worshipers claimed that he slew the demon-god Vritra, thus proving his supremacy over the gods. Yama was worshiped as the god of death and is spoken of as the founder of paradise and the ruler of the golden age in the hereafter.
In later Hindu mythology Brahma is represented as the supreme deity. The Hindu trinity is composed of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Siva the Destroyer. Together, the three composed the one god Brahm. Brahma is the supreme god of the Hindus, but actually he is little worshiped, and it is said that in all India there are only two temples devoted to him. Vishnu, the second person of the Hindu trinity, receives the worship of millions. Siva, the third person of the trinity, is figured with a rope for strangling evildoers, with a necklace of human skulls, with earrings of serpents and with the sacred river Ganges on his head. Numerous temples are erected for his honor and worship. In India, cows, monkeys, snakes and boars are also considered sacred.
Of ancient China it is said that their gods were few, but later for almost everything in life the Chinese had a special god. Chang-ti was worshiped as the great first cause. New emperors devoted a crop from a section of land in sacrifice to Chang-ti. When the rulers neglected this practice, it was believed that various forms of public calamities befell them.
The Chinese worshiped other gods. Hwa-Kwang, the god of fire and heat, is represented with three eyes. His worshipers claim that he is able to see a thousand miles, even in the dark. Merchants appeal to him to protect them from robbers and plunderers. To-ti is the god of the earth that confers prosperity in business. The Tiger-god and the fire-god are two very popular Chinese deities. Like these, almost all the Chinese gods are ugly and grotesque.
Shintoism, the common religion of the Japanese, has its gods and goddesses, sacred symbols and legends. The Japanese hell-god is truly colossal in size, some sixty-three and a half feet from bottom to top.
The Teutons and the Saxons worshiped gods of the sky. Human sacrifices were commonplace to appease the gods. Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, was appeased only by human sacrifices. F. S. Dobbins asserted that “not less than twenty thousand men, women, and children were annually sacrificed to this monster.” That represents a figure of not less than fifty humans every day.
Then there were gods and goddesses dedicated to virtue, faith, honor, hope, justice, mercy, chastity, truth, good sense, peace, health, fidelity, money, liberty, laughter, genius and silence. A marked peculiarity of the gods is that they have almost in every case been made to possess the characteristics of their makers. They were the works and imaginings of men. The apostle Paul taught correctly, as Demetrius testified: “This Paul has won over a considerable crowd and turned them to another opinion, saying that the ones which are made by hands are not gods.” So they are not.—Acts 19:26.
THE TRUE GOD
The only God that has proved his supremacy throughout all the centuries is Jehovah. Of Jehovah, David wrote: “All the gods of the peoples are worthless gods, but as for Jehovah, he has made the very heavens.” “Jehovah is a great God and a great King over all other gods.” The Ruler of the universe is not a nameless, triune god. His name is Jehovah. Of himself he states: “Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” “Turn to me and be saved, all you at the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no one else.” The apostle Peter declared: “Anyone that calls upon the name of Jehovah will be saved.” This truth still stands, for “Jehovah is in truth God. He is the living God and the King to time indefinite.” Turn to him. Worship him and live.—Ps. 96:5; 95:3; Isa. 43:10, 11; 45:22; Acts 2:21; Jer. 10:10.