Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The God of the Old Testament

The Old Testament story distinguishes Judaism (and Christianity) from all other religions of the world in two main ways. First, we find here a religion based on historical facts, not just abstract ideas and ideals or mystical experiences. Second, the God of the Old Testament differs from the gods of other religions in at least four important ways:
  1. Only a few individuals in the ancient world, like Socrates in Greece and Ahkenaton in Egypt, rose above their society's polytheism (belief in many gods) to monotheism (belief in one God) like the Jews.

  2. Only the Jews had the knowledge of a God who created the entire universe out of nothing.

  3. Other peoples separated religion and morality. Only the God of the Bible was perfectly good, righteous, and holy as well as the Giver of the moral law, demanding moral goodness in all men.

  4. These differences are accounted for by a fourth one: although other peoples sometimes arrived at profound truths about God by their imagination (myth), their reason (philosophy), and their experience (mysticism), they mixed these truths with falsehoods because they did not have a word from God Himself. Other religions tell of man's search for God; the Bible tells of God's search for man. Other religions tell timeless truths about God; the Bible tells of God's deeds in time, in history.
You Can Understand the Bible
A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible
by Peter Kreeft

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