Yesterday, a lovely young woman from one of the local Hindu temples invited me to Saturday services. “We worship Jesus and all gods,” she earnestly explained.
Her earnestness notwithstanding, this has been a key point of confusion between the Christian faith and almost every other way of having faith that I have encountered.
Is There More than One God?
Is there more than one god?Is there more than one spiritual power? If there is more than one power, should they all be worshiped … or at least placated?
The Bible leaves no room for questioning that there are many spiritual powers.
Read your New Testament, even your Gospels, with a mind open to the writers’ view of the world and you will see dozens of references to spirits that influence human behavior. Read the Old Testament as its readers did and you will see a God who is above all gods, but never claims to be the only god. If the Lord God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jakob and Leah and Rachel were the only god, Israel would have managed to stay out of a great deal of trouble over the centuries. Instead, she put up wooden poles to worship Asherah and participated in a frightening ritual of passing children through or over fire to dedicate them to the god Moloch,* among many other spiritual deviations.
The Bible also leaves no room for questioning which of those many spiritual powers a Christian may turn to.
It makes clear that many spirits can influence behavior, provide accurate information about the world, and otherwise be useful to those who only seek utility from the spirit world, but the Christian listens to only one voice, worships only one God, follows only one Lord.
Can You Worship Many Gods?
During a time when we, like Israel, are surrounded by people who worship many gods, it is time to remind ourselves again that our God is the awesome Creator of all that is. When other spirits provide helpful guidance or even entire careers to others (for example, the animal psychologist I know who receives her information from a “spirit guide”), it is our responsibility to praise and love the one God who invited us to follow him and him alone.
Of course my new Hindu acquaintance can praise many gods, including the One I know. But to praise the Lord God as one of many is to miss the point. To seek the Lord God as one of many is to walk away from His path.
There are indeed many paths up the mountain. There are also many paths that never approach the mountain. Keep climbing, brothers and sisters in Christ.
* The reason I say that the children were only dedicated to this god, not sacrificed to him, is because according to the biblical texts, at least two children so passed through the fire survived to become kings of Israel: King Hezekiah and King Amon. See 2 Kings 16:3 (Ahaz passes son through fire), 2 Kings 16:20 (Ahaz’ son Hezekiah becomes king); 2 Chron. 28: 3 (Ahaz passes sons through fire), 2 Chron. 28:7 (Ahaz’ son Hezekiah becomes king); 2 Kings 21: 6 (Manasseh passes son through fire, 2 Kings 21:18 (Manasseh’s son Amon becomes king).