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|Vol. 15 No. 9 September 2013||
Adam B. Cozort
Americans live in a society that overwhelmingly believes in the existence of God (over 80% according to numerous polls); nevertheless, there is constant bemoaning of those who do not believe in God. Questions are asked wondering how someone can believe such a thing, why will they not view the facts and come to a logical conclusion, etcetera. However, there is another question that is just as important, but is rarely ever asked: “Which is worse, not believing in God, or believing in a mythical God?”
The word “myth” is defined as an idealized conception, a false belief or something that is fictitious. In other words, a mythical God is one that does not exist. There may be some things about this God that are based in reality, but the central core of what is believed about him is simply a work of fiction. Friends, it is just as bad, wrong and dangerous to believe in a mythical God as it is to believe in no God at all; yet, much of the religious world does exactly that. Consider some of the things people believe about the mythical god.
The mythical god will save everyone… well, almost everyone. Those who believe in such doctrines as “faith only,” “grace only” and “once saved, always saved” have a hard time reconciling many of their teachings with Scripture. Their God is all-inclusive, as long as you believe in him. Once you have believed in him and been saved, there is nothing you can do to lose your salvation. When pressed on those they believe are lost, many who profess such doctrines cannot give an answer, because they believe that, in essence, everyone is going to heaven except for the generic “really bad people.” There is not one relative, coworker, friend or acquaintance that has died about which they have any doubt as to whether or not he or she was saved.
Unfortunately, this myth about God flies in the face of numerous aspects of Scripture. They have reversed the two paths of Matthew 7:13-14 to make the broad way the way to life. They have denied the necessity of obedience in Matthew 7:21-23, instead believing that crying, “Lord, Lord,” is all one must do. They serve a God that didn’t really mean what he said about the necessity of baptism in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:16 and the entire Book of Acts, not to mention Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Peter 3:21. Thereby, such people turn the entire New Testament into a paradigm of confusion and individual interpretation, something it was never intended to be (1 Corinthians 1:10; 14:33).
The mythical god does not hate anything. It is amazing how many people want to promote God as a God of love, but refuse to acknowledge that there are things God hates. In order for true love to exist, there must be a hate of those things that go against that love. However, those who follow the mythical god have come to the conclusion that god loves everything and everyone so much that he will overlook or ignore the things that people do that go against his love and deny his goodness, mercy and justice.
Those who profess such beliefs truly believe in a mythical god, because the true God of the Bible hates evil and wickedness to the same degree that He loves righteousness and obedience. When God through Solomon listed seven things He hates in Proverbs 6:16-19, He was not speaking figuratively. When God said that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), He did not mean that He is mildly turned off by the concept, but that He hates even the consideration of it because it means that sin is involved in some way. Maybe we should ask Ananias and Sapphira if there are things God hates (Acts 5), or maybe King Herod Agrippa would be a good candidate for such a question (Acts 12:20-23). When one reaches lists of those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:8-10; etc.), how can we not understand that these are things that God hates and that God also hates the actions of those who are entertained by them (Romans 1:22-32)?
There are many other aspects of the mythical god that could be listed and discussed, but these should refocus our minds on ensuring that the God we serve is the God of the Bible – not some mythical god man has created to fit his beliefs and desires. It will only be by placing our trust and confidence in the true God that we can serve Him acceptably, accept His promises, understand His will and receive His rewards. May we never serve a mythical god.
[Editor’s Note: Denominational gods are fashioned from the imaginations of mortals, which is a form of idolatry, as surely as pagans anciently and adherents of many world religions today have made their gods from gold, silver, stone and wood. Isaiah said of the idolater’s use of a tree he lumbered, “Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it” (Isaiah 44:15 NKJV). Sadly, the absurdity of making one’s own god seems never to dawn on pagans anciently or presently or upon other religionists who profess Christianity. ~ Louis Rushmore]
Toward the end of 2008 what was billed as the world’s most expensive new book went on display at the New York Public Library. There are more expensive old books, but this is a new book produced by the Italian publisher Marilena Ferrari. It’s cost: over $100,000!
The book depicts the life and work of Michelangelo, including photographs of his drawings and sculptures, creations from the Sistine Chapel and his personal poetry. It weighs 62 lbs., has a front cover of white marble, and is covered with red silk velvet. Its paper is from one of Italy’s oldest paper mills – the mill where Picasso bought his art paper.
Each book takes six months to make and comes with a 500-year warranty! As of December 2008, more than 20 of the books had been sold to buyers around the world.
These books are valuable because of the craft, quality of materials and time that goes into their production. After all, the books don’t contain Michelangelo’s actual art, just photos of it!
Yet, there is another book that is much more valuable. The most important book ever printed – and the most valuable book – is the Bible, God’s Word. What makes the Bible so valuable is the content of its message – the very words of God. It is a priceless treasure!
Christians at Thessalonica understood the value of this Book. Paul commended them, saying: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Consider the words of an unknown author as he gave tribute to the Word of God: This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy! The Word of God reveals the state of man: we are sinners, and unless our situation is remedied, we are doomed to destruction (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Matthew 7:13-14). The Word of God reveals the way of salvation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus is the way of salvation (John 14:6), for He paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross on our behalf (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
To access the way of Salvation, the Word of God teaches us that we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). Then, as we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
God’s Word is the most important Book! Read it to be wise, believe and obey it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. Won’t you?