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The Unknown God

Over the years I have encountered many people that use terms that generalize God. There is this new age terminology that is becoming very common now. People use terms like the Universal Spirit, Universal Consciousness, and the Supreme Being to describe God. It is as if they are trying to blow him up so big that it is impossible for a person to get to know him intimately. I hear people say that the Great Spirit worshipped by the Indians and Allah worshipped by the Muslims and the God of the Jews are all the same God.
It has often bothered me that these various people holding to these varieties of beliefs are often at odds with one another. So is there any difference between the Indian worshipping the Great Spirit, the Muslim worshipping Allah, and the Christian worshipping Jesus Christ?
First off this is not a new issue even if we label it new age. The Indians are not the only people to worship God and idols at the same time. Yes, I said that the Indians worship idols. What do you think totem poles are? Some tribes even made human sacrifices to stone idols like the Aztecs and the Incas. Many tribes worship totem spirits represented by various animals some of them worship the spirits of their ancestors. So they may be worshipping God when they worship the Great Spirit, but he not considered their only God.
So what about folks who worship Allah, or the Universal Spirit, Universal Consciousness, and the Supreme Being? What about the idolaters?

Acts 17

16 Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols.
17 So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshipped there, and in the marketplace (where assemblies are held) day after day with any who chanced to be there.
18 And some also of the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophers encountered him and began to engage in discussion. And some said, What is this babbler And some said, He seems to be an announcer of foreign deities-because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.
19 and they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus (Mars Hill auditorium), saying, May we know what this novel (unheard of and unprecedented) teaching is which you are openly declaring?
20 For you set forth some startling things, foreign and strange to our ears; we wish to know therefore just what these things mean-
21 For the Athenians, all of them, and the foreign residents and visitors among them spent all their leisure time in nothing except telling or hearing something newer than the last-
22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus (Mars Hill auditorium), said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way (on every hand and with every turn I make) that you are most religious or very reverent to demons.
23 For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshipping as unknown, this I set forth to you.
24 The God who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines.
25 Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Who gives life and breath and all things to all people.
26 And He made from one (common origin, one source, one blood) all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined their allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes)
27 So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.
28 For in him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
29 Since then we are God's offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, (of the nature of) a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented.
30 Such former ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins)
31 Because He has fixed a day when he will judge the world righteously (justly) by a man whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead.
32 Now when they had heard (that there had been) a resurrection from the dead, some scoffed; but others said, We will hear you again about this matter.
33 So Paul went out from among them.
34 But some men were on his side and joined him and believed (became Christians); among them were Dionysius, a judge of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damarius, and some others with them.

The altar to the unknown god is a good example of people worshipping God in ignorance. I also think that when someone generalizes God by calling him a Universal Spirit that it is almost the same thing. When someone worships totem poles then gives reverence to a Great Spirit it amounts to the same thing. People often worship God in ignorance.
Sometimes people worship God in ignorance just because they don't know any other way. Sometimes they do it simply because they do not truly believe it is possible to really know God. I do not pretend to know all the motivations of people's hearts. Just as the person in a foreign land may be ignorant of God so also a person that attends church every Sunday and hears about God every week can be just as ignorant. I don't exclude the person who has never heard of God from being capable of coming to know him either. As Paul said God is not far from any of us at any time and if he wishes he is able to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime he so chooses.
So what makes Christians so special? We believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do not believe that God is simply some Great inaccessible amorphous being or spirit out there in the universe. We believe that he is a very personal God who sent his son to save the world.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As Paul said in verse 33 of the passage above there is a lot of evidence, conviction, and assurance to make our belief credible. So if you ever are questioned again about the difference between Christianity and all the other faiths in the world it boils down to this. They are worshipping God in ignorance, and they do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior? If not please read the Roman Road page.