Thursday, December 18, 2008

Six Billion Monotheists?

The Unitarians tell us:

“One God, Many Names.”
The power to name is the power to control. If I call my god “Ned” after my favorite rich uncle, who gave me a Porsche when I was 16, my deity is very very different from the God of the Jews and Christians. That God is a Holy God, and loves me too much to indulge my every whim, then or now. If I'm really a monotheist, I have to decide which God is “The One.”
Perhaps the Jewish/Christian deity is a figment of our collective imagination, and the one true deity really is rightly called Ned. Or perhaps s/he has so many faces that we have no idea which if any is the real one. But that starts to look like polytheism. H_LL, it IS Polytheism! The Unitarians and their liberal Protestant fellow travelers are NOT monotheists! They think the world contains a different god for each human!
Now, each of us looks at God in a slightly different way.
Of course: each individual is unique, and uniquely loved by the Jewish/Christian God. [We'll call him YHWH since he revealed himself with those four Hebrew letters in the Jewish Scriptures. It's unpronounceable without adding some vowels, I'm told by those who know, or ought to.] This God's self revelation has brought meaning to a large proportion of those 6 billion, and to billions before them across many different cultures. But those who believe look at ONE God from many viewpoints, not an infinite number of gods from infinite viewpoints. Some see more clearly than others, just as individuals differ in other ways. We can know which viewpoints are helpful, and true, by comparing each vision to God's self revelation, and thus learn a lot about ourselves, and about the God who LOVES US ENOUGH TO REVEAL HIMSELF! Finite humans could never handle a complete self revelation, but we have a remarkably coherent library of 66 books about Him, AND we can see what He was like when He walked this earth. (Hint: think of a Palestinian Jew named Jesus. John 14:6)

So, Unitarians and theological liberals can't believe in grace, because they don't believe in sin [see post below] and they are not monotheists because that would require a specific, self-revealed God—their worst nightmare! An outta control god! Ten Commandments—soon they'll be thousands, they cry—misunderstanding the Commandments, which are actually part of God's self revelation. (Which ones are binding today requires some study of the NEW Covenant. Most Christians and Jews say “all Ten” although Jesus himself relaxed the 4th Commandment a wee bit, while tightening up the rest a lot [Lust=Adultery, Anger=Murder from Matthew 5-7].) Thank God, I believe in grace. I confess my total inability to obey any of them—I cast myself upon his mercy and—here's the good part—not only do I know this one God in a personal way, but sometimes I actually want to obey His commands! I'm still tempted, but God empowers me to resist—I'm not alone with Uncle Ned. In case you're wondering: Ned—the god, the uncle—neither exists. I didn't get a Porsche, I got a Schwinn 10-speed, for which I am very grateful. Thanks Mom, thanks Dad! And thank God.
More on self revelation: I use “He” for God because that's the pronoun exclusively used in both Jewish and Christians Scriptures. From the very beginning, God has declared that BOTH male and female reflect his image, which (I think) is why there are two genders, and why marriage is a picture of the persons in the Godhead. And I sometimes capitalize the pronouns because it's a bad habit I picked up from the King James Bible. It also helps me sort out my antecedents, but of course the Greek and Hebrew texts don't use capitals in that way—they aren't even punctuated!

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