What’s the difference? (Part two)

In the last post I told you of a challenge put to me to show that the God of the Bible is different from the other ancient deities.

What’s the difference? (Part two)

Every nation had their god and the question is, Why do you think Israel’s God, Yahweh, is real and Baal, Molech, Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh and Adrammelech, etc. aren’t? This challenge has been presented in this way: “Tell me why you don’t believe in everyone else’s gods and that’s why I don’t believe in yours.” But the God of the Bible still stands after the other gods have been disproved and there are many reasons for that. The one we looked at last time is that the God of Israel existed eternally. Here is another:

The God of Israel accounts for reality

The Bible presents God as having a plurality of persons within His own being. This is something that is seen in the very first chapter of the Bible:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

It is implied right the way through the Old Testament. For example, we find throughout the Old Testament a figure called the Angel of the Lord. This Angel speaks about God, is sent by God, and yet is identified as God and claims to be God.

But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:11-12)

(Some other examples are Genesis 16:7-13; 31:11-13; 48:15-16; Exodus 3:1-10; Judges 6:11-14.)

This truth is revealed fully in the New Testament – God is not a non-personal being, nor merely a personal being, but He is a tri-personal being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

We may not be able to understand the truth of the Trinity, but we can understand a lot because of it. Why is it that we all recognise that love is a virtue? It is because God is love (1 John 4:8). If God were a non-personal being He couldn’t be loving, and if He were merely a personal being He couldn’t be loving because He would have existed eternally with no one to love. But because He is tri-personal He was eternally in the enjoyment of a loving relationship. The only way we can account for the reality and goodness of love is to see that it is essential to God’s nature, and the only way that can be true is if God is a Trinity.

There is no other worldview or holy book that presents such a God. Only the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, accounts for the most important feature of our existence – sharing love and being in relationship.