The Issachar Report<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
1 Chronicles 12:2
Dennis A. Wright, DMin
The Monotheistic Worldview is based upon Theism, a term that refers to the belief in a "personal" god, that is, one single God with a distinctive personality, rather than just a divine force. Before considering the three major world religions based upon Theism, let us briefly examine how Deism fits into this worldview.
Deism is a form of monotheism in which it is believed that one God exists. Further, Deism has become identified with the classical belief that God created but does not intervene in the world, though this is not a necessary component of deism. Hence any notion of special revelation is impossible, and the nature of God can only be known through reason and observation from nature. A deist thus rejects the miraculous, and the claim to knowledge made for religious groups and texts.
While there are various others forms of monotheism, the three major world religions that are monotheistic are: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
It was Moses who taught the Israelites the nature of God: "Hear O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Shema Yisrael Yahweh eloheinu Yahweh ehad) (Deuteronomy 6:4). Known as the Shema, this magnificent statement of faith in the One True God is repeated throughout the prayer services. To this day among observant Jews, the Shema is said in the morning blessings, in the musaf Amidah of Shabbat and holidays, when the Torah is taken out of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Ark on Shabbat and holidays, as a bedtime prayer, as part of the deathbed confessional, and at various other times.
Literally, this is a declaration that Yahweh is God and that Yahweh is the only One who is God. There is no other. Our Lord Jesus would have recited the Shema each and every day of His earthly ministry.
Israel understood that God is eternal and personal and is the Creator of all things. They understood that mankind is less than God for we are His creation. And they certainly understood that salvation is something that God does on behalf of mankind. These are the essential beliefs of a monotheistic worldview.
Some have described Christianity as the daughter of Judaism, for Judaism gave Christianity its birth. Most assuredly Christianity and Judaism agree upon the essential elements of a monotheistic worldview.
The difference lies in their understandings of the exact nature of Yahweh. Whereas Judaism declares Yahweh to be a Unity, Christianity proclaims that He is a Trinity composed of Father, Son and Spirit. Despite the fact that a definition of the Trinity is not easy to create, one of the best came from that outstanding theologian Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield: "There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance, but distinct in subsistence" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, 5:3012). By "substance" Warfield is saying that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same essence. "Subsistence" means that each member of the Trinity has "necessary existence."
Jesus put it this way in John 10:10, "I and the Father are one." He also said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Asked if Muslims worship the same Almighty as Jews and Christians, President George W. Bush replied some months ago, "I believe we worship the same God." The Islamic deity, known as Allah, in other words, is the same Supreme Being to whom Jews and Christians pray.
But is this actually the case? Or is Allah of the Qur'an in reality Hubal, the Moon God of Mecca from pre-Islamic times? This idea has been mentioned in literature for more than a century, but only recently has the theory been seriously promoted. In fairness to President Bush, his answer is, in fact, the current majority opinion in this ongoing debate.
That being said, one has but to examine closely those characteristics ascribed to Allah in the Qur'an to easily comprehend that Allah of the Qur'an is vastly different from the Yahweh of the Bible! But this discussion will have to wait for a future column.
Dennis A. Wright, DMin is Founder and President of Understanding The Times Ministries. An accomplished writer and educator, Wright has spoken in churches and conferences all over America on spiritual counterfeits and Christian Worldview topics. He can be emailed at Dennis@UnderstandingTheTimes.org and his new website can be found at www.UnderstandingTheTimes.org.
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