Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Uniqueness Of Trinitarian Monotheism

         In simplest terms, polytheism is belief in the existence of multiple gods. Cited examples could range anywhere from the Roman pantheon of gods to religions that still thrive such as Hinduism. It is both an ancient and modern concept. The fundamental logical dilemma for polytheistic worldviews is rooted in the fact that the gods of such religions do not function in perfect harmony with each other. They certainly are diverse. Such gods are by no means unified. 

         In a polytheistic framework, there is no final arbitrator of truth. The deities fight amongst each other. In Greco-Roman literature, gods killed and stole wives from each other. They spitefully contradicted and blasphemed one another. The gods of polytheistic religions are subject to defeat. Thus, morality is rendered subjective in a polytheistic worldview. Peace becomes nonexistent. Chaos abounds fully. Of what avail is polytheism to our lives?

         In contrast, the God of the Judeo-Christian worldview exists as one in three separate, divine persons. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. He is eternal and self-sufficient. God is love, and enjoys fellowship with creation. He is righteous. Trinitarian monotheism is the most rational expression of monotheism. No mere man could have invented a doctrine as sophisticated, yet so profound, as that of the Trinity. The gods of pagan religions, however, act exactly like depraved man himself. Are they even worthy of being worshiped? Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek wrote:

         "...the Trinity helps us understand how love has existed from all eternity. The New Testament says God is love (1 John 4:16). But how can love exist in a rigid monotheistic being? There's no one else to love! Tri-unity in the Godhead solves the problem. After all, to have love, there must be a lover (the Father), a loved one (the Son), and a spirit of love (the Holy Spirit). Because of this triune nature, God has existed eternally in a perfect fellowship of love. He is the perfect being who lacks nothing, not even love. Since he lacks nothing, God didn't need to to create human beings for any reason (he wasn't lonely, as some preachers have been known to say). He simply chose to create us, and loves us in accordance to his loving nature." (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 353)

         The so-called deities of polytheistic religions are defective and so have proven themselves to be nothing to us. They are beneath our consideration. They are not fit recipients of our effort, attention, or respect. The history of the Old Testament makes this reality clear to us who have faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was He who delivered the Jews from the hands of Egypt's pharaoh. It was God who spared Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. It is against this kind of a backdrop that a Psalmist wrote about pagans and their gods:

         "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them." (Psalm 115:4-8)

         This passage contains elements of sarcasm as well as irony. The Psalmist disparages the gods of foreign nations by noting their inability to do anything even for themselves. People who follow after them are thus considered stupid and senseless. They are viewed as objects of contempt. The gods of foreign nations are described as having characteristics of living beings, yet having no life or power in them. They have no use, being nothing but a product of human imagination.

          The Holy Scriptures tell us in no uncertain terms that there is only one true God (Exodus 20:1-3; Isaiah 43:10-11). He stands out in contrast to the false gods of this world. He is the living God; the rest are dead and helpless. God has no name like Zeus or Apollo. Human reason cannot even begin to fathom the depths of who He is. God alone is the Creator of heaven and earth. Logical deductions used to argue for the existence of God such as an orderly universe and objective moral truths are consistent with monotheism.

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