What Kind of God Do You Worship?
‘OH, WE all worship the same God!’ How often is that expression heard when the subject comes up as to differences in religion, or when a Christian minister wants to tell others about God!
But is that statement accurate and true? There are many different religions. Do they all worship the same kind of God or does each one, instead, portray God with more or less differing characteristics?
The Christian witnesses of Jehovah believe and teach that God is a spirit, that he is unique, that there is none like Him. As Jesus said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Do you believe this is true of God? The Witnesses also believe that he is the Most High, above all others, that he has always existed, that he never had a beginning. “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Yes, He is “the King of eternity.” (Ps. 83:18; 1 Tim. 1:17) Do you believe this? The Witnesses believe that God is almighty, unlimited in power and wisdom; that he is flawless in justice, perfect in love and wholly unselfish. Do you believe this to be true of your God? You will if you believe in the God of the Holy Bible.—Gen. 17:1; Deut. 32:4; Rom. 11:33; 1 John 4:8.
But do the great majority of the members of the churches of Christendom believe in this kind of God? Does your church teach the Trinity? Many church members find a description or definition of the Trinity very difficult to understand. In fact, some religious authorities discourage their clergy from trying to explain it to their flocks. This teaching is most completely enunciated in what is called the Athanasian Creed. Among other things, that creed defines the Trinity as “The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. . . . So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet there are not Three Almighties but One Almighty. . . . In this Trinity none is afore or after Other. None is greater or less than Another.” If you find this description of God hard to understand and to believe, why not ask your clergyman if your church subscribes to this Athanasian Creed?
Would you like to know what the Bible says about God? Well, instead of teaching that God is composed of three persons, all equally incomprehensible, eternal, almighty, and so forth, the Bible plainly says: “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (Deut. 6:4) Search if you will, there is no statement in either the Hebrew or the Christian Greek Scriptures that God consists of three persons and that he shares his eternalness and omnipotence with two others. Even as the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits: “The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the O[ld] T[estament]. . . . The mystery of the Holy Trinity was not revealed to the Chosen People of the OT.” “One should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification.” In fact, this authority dates the dogma of “one God in three Persons” to the last quarter of the fourth century. “Among the Apostolic Fathers, there has been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”—Vol. XIV, pp. 306, 295, 299.
Furthermore, in your search in the Scriptures you will find that Jesus, far from claiming equality with his Father, Jehovah God, stated: “The Father is greater than I am.” Far from his being coeternal with his Father, we read that Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation,” and “the beginning of the creation by God.” Some argue that “firstborn” here merely means that Jesus is the chief one and not that he was actually born. But still, if he is the first or chief of creation, then he was created and he did have a beginning! Surely simple logic tells us that the Father and Creator is older than the Son and the creation, does it not? And far from Jesus Christ’s being almighty, when on earth he prayed to his Father for help.—John 14:28; Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14; Heb. 5:7, 8.
Now consider another aspect of the God you worship. No doubt you believe that God is good. But does your church subscribe to the teaching that God punishes the wicked in an eternal torment of hellfire? As Billy Graham, currently America’s most popular evangelist, once put it: “The teaching of a literal hell is found in the creeds of all the leading churches. . . . God considered hell real enough that He sent his only Son to the world to save men from hell.” Regarding such doctrine, he also said, “I grant that it is the hardest of all the teachings of Christianity to receive.”
The current Roman Catholic view of hell is set out in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, Vol. 6, p. 1005): “It is impossible to soften the severity of Jesus’ warning against unrepented sin, and the sentimentalism that seeks to do so is a distortion of His teaching and that of the N[ew] T[estament] as a whole. The chief characteristic of hell as depicted in the NT is its fire that is unquenchable . . . and everlasting. . . . Whatever may be implied by the terms ‘unquenchable fire’ and ‘everlasting fire,’ they should not be explained away as meaningless.”
Now, what about these church creeds that depict God as torturing bad people in a purgatory or an unquenchable, everlasting hellfire? Is this the kind of God you worship? What does the Bible say on this matter?
Surely if God is righteous and altogether just he will bless the good and punish the bad. But how does God punish the incorrigibly wicked? The Bible plainly tells us that “the wages sin pays is death,” and death is the absence of life. You know that one would have to be alive and conscious of pain to suffer in a fiery hell. Contrariwise, the Bible says that those who do not believe the Son will “be destroyed,” be wiped out of existence, annihilated.—Rom. 6:23; John 3:16.
Do you recall how God warned Adam that if he ate of the forbidden fruit he would die? No, God did not say he would be tormented. So upon his eating of that fruit Adam was sentenced, not to eternal torment, but to death: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground . . . For dust you are and to dust you will return.” This Adam did at the end of 930 years.—Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:19; 5:5.
You know that “God is love.” The Bible says so. (1 John 4:8) It also states that God is merciful and delights in loving-kindness. (Mic. 7:18, 19) To punish persons forever in eternal torment is neither loving nor merciful, is it? Furthermore, the Bible tells us that God is perfect in justice. (Deut. 32:4) To torture a person for all eternity for having failed to get onto the narrow road that leads to life would not be justice. (Matt. 7:13, 14) Why, imperfect men make laws forbidding cruel and unusual punishments, even to animals. Are they more just than God? If your church teaches eternal torment, ask your clergyman this question, and see what he says.
The teaching of eternal torment impugns God’s love, wisdom, justice and power and so contradicts the Bible. But God’s Word vindicates these attributes of God. Adam and Eve were justly required to show appreciation for life and its blessings. By disobeying God they showed their lack of appreciation for God’s blessings. Yet God showed his love by providing his Son to die so that all who had not sinned willfully, as did Adam, might have an opportunity for eternal life. (John 3:16) These blessings will be made available to humankind by means of a resurrection from the dead and by means of God’s kingdom. By this arrangement Jehovah God at once magnifies his justice, his love, his wisdom and his power.—John 5:28, 29.
Yes, the Bible shows Jehovah God to be one Person (not three in one). It also shows him to be infinite in wisdom and power, perfect in justice, supremely unselfish, altogether loving. If this is the kind of God you worship you will be happy to know that there are more than one and a half million others who worship the same kind of God. They are known as Jehovah’s witnesses.
Why not go to a nearby Kingdom Hall, if you are not already doing so? There you can join in studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses, who do not worship a God that is simply a creation of the minds of men, a mere figment of the imagination. Rather, they worship the One who is the Creator of the universe and whose loving qualities are so clearly described in the Bible. If this God of the Bible is your God, then join with those who are praising and serving Jehovah. In this way you can also enjoy the blessing that only this God can give—peace of mind with contentment now, and everlasting life in his new order soon to come!
[Picture on page 132]
The Trinity—did you know that even some who teach it admit that it is not found in the Bible?