After a few starts and some name changes, I think I finally have a way to do this.
It started with the site name change,
which went from “which god saves us” to “god versus religion”.
It really seems appropriate to call it “God versus Religion”, because so often I suspect God’s not happy with man’s religions. And it’s not like that’s anything new. It’s been like that, well, for a really long time.
For instance, right after the Israelites were saved in the Exodus, we read this from God speaking to Moses –
Ex 34:10 Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Just counting the number of times we see orders to cut down Asherah poles – there are more than 20 of them in the NIV Old Testament.
And just in case you forgot, all of this was after the first tablet was broken when Moses found the people celebrating with their golden calf ‘god’.
So – no, God wasn’t happy with the people back then and what they chose to have as their ‘gods’. In today’s terms, we would say it was their version of ‘religion’ or ‘church’ or things like that.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, people argue over things, split off and form a new ‘religion’ with a different ‘god’. I put it that way, because they argue, sometimes to the death, over things related to their specific version of who “God” really is. As if they can make God in their image. Last time I checked, it was the other way around.
In the face of all this, what are we to do?
How are we to know the “real” God?
I guess the first answer is another question – would God leave us with no clue as to how to know Him?
The answer to that has got to be a resounding “No!”
The answer is in the world around us –
God’s Wrath Against Mankind
Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Ro 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Ro 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Ro 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Depending on how you look at that passage, it’s either one of condemnation or one of hope.
In reality, I think it’s both. And it’s up to us which one it’s going to be.
I like the passage, because I believe that the hope it offers us is real. That the existence of God is made plain – if we take the time to look for it. There are various articles here on science and God – which show that, even for a betting person who still isn’t sure, the odds of God existing are far greater than the odds that this universe we live in and all the stuff in it could possibly be random.
Speaking of that passage from Romans, we have the entire Bible. We also have what various other religions consider their holy books.
I believe that when we read the Bible, really pay attention to what it says, and look at the big picture, there’s an incredible symmetry to everything.
From Adam as the first man – from dust, to Jesus as the first from Heaven –
The Resurrection Body
1Co 15:35 But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
1Co 15:42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
From Abram / Hagar / Ishmael
and Abraham / Sarah / Isaac
to where we are in the world today with Jews, Christians and Muslims.
And so much more.
There must be answers there.
Answers that can lead us to the truth.
Even among denominations and sects of the same religion – we people disagree as to who God is.
They cannot all be right, because they create artificial laws that are mutually exclusive to each other.
Not like men creating obstacles to the rest of the people knowing God is anything new –
Mt 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Mt 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
These are but two of the seven woes that Jesus had for the teachers of the law and the Pharisees.
So that’s the goal here – to examine the texts of Christianity and Islam. To look at history to see what really happened (as best we can) through the eyes of historians from both of those, as well as from Jewish history.
I’ve gone through enough to see some patterns developing. There’s more to do – lot’s to write.
Originally, I was going to try to stay somewhat neutral, developing an outline to lead to a conclusion. But it seems there’s a problem with that approach – time. There’s so much, and so many places where choices have to be made, it seemed impossible to present that way.
Besides which, anyone looking at anything else on this site knows what I believe, There’s no hiding it, even if I wanted to.
Instead, I’ll come right out and show in the very next article – “what religion was Abraham” – that there are promises made by God (the Jewish and Christian God of the Old Testament) to Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael. At the beginning of this whole controversy – Abraham – there was a common God. A God that made promises to Abram / Abraham, Sarai / Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac.
It’s not unlike the scenario we have today with the various religions / denominations / sects that believe the others are apostates that will go to Hell. They started out believing the same thing. Then something changed.
However – as I said earlier – things in this world aren’t random. Ultimately, God is in control. It may not seem like it, but it will eventually be clear – when God takes absolute control –
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”
Rev 4:9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
And so the journey begins.
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