The Window of Jesus

A couple weeks ago on campus, there was a guest speaker who happened to be a hymn writer. At chapel, we sang some of her hymns. One caused quite the stir. I wish I had the lyrics to it, but essentially, the hymn portrayed Christians, Jews, and Muslims all in the same light. What she was getting at was that they all claim the God of Abraham as their God. So here we were in chapel, singing a song about how all three of these paths lead to heaven. A week or so later, this topic was discussed in my apologetics course as we were exploring religious pluralism. Overall, there was harsh sentiment towards the hymn and the lyrics. However, I think the guest points out something that we as Christians so often overlook. Really, all three of these religions trace our roots back to Abraham and more specifically, to the God of Abraham, Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Too often, I find Christians rejecting the Jewish and Islamic view of God as some sort of inferior god, someone simply concocted in the minds of the followers. And honestly, it does not bother me that we all claim the same God, no matter how many Christians may disagree with me. But I must point out that these three religions all see God through different windows. Our perception of God is shaped by the lens through which we view God. And this is what differentiates the religions. Muslims see God (or Allah for them) through the eyes of the prophet Muhammad. Jews see God through the law and one might even make the argument for seeing through the lens of Moses. But Christians view God through the window of Jesus Christ . . .  and this changes EVERYTHING. No longer are we in a works based religion such as Judaism or Islam, but we are under the shadow of grace. A free gift. So the view of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worshiping the same God may not be as big of a blasphemy as one first thinks. The difference though is through whom we see this God. And this person drastically changes our perception of what/whom God is.

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2 Responses to The Window of Jesus

  1. ketch22 says:

    Thank you for your post. I highly disagree with you on the premise of “how we view God”. It seems as if you believe that how we view God is the point, when in fact, God doesn’t change no matter how we view Him. God is Jesus, Jesus is God. What differentiates the religions is a completely different God, not the same God being seen differently. Just because all religions have Abraham as a starting point, means nothing except that Abraham was real and was the father of a lot of civilizations. It just so happens that some of the civilazations that branched off from the seed of Abraham lost the vision of the true God and started inventing their own.

  2. firescloudsandwanderings says:

    Ketch22,

    Thanks for the comments. I very much appreciate your critique and feedback. It helps me to be write more clearly and also to be concise and to the point. A couple of clarifications and other notes I would like to make known though. (1) I am not suggesting that Jesus and God our two different beings. I was simply making the point that we see God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (2) You make the claim that God never changes which I am guessing you derive from the verse in Hebrews 13 saying that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. If you read in the surrounding context, you will notice it is not talking about the person of Jesus never changing but rather the message of Jesus and its implications never changes. The writer of the Hebrews warns us not to be carried away by strange teachings in the verse that follows. When we suggest that God is immutable, we have placed some very stringent boundaries on who God is. I think that claim is unjustified. God is mystery, God will be who God will be whether or not we as humans can comprehend it. Jack Miles writes on this topic is his novel, God: A Biography, if you would be interested in some further reading. (3) I want to make clear that our view of God does change everything. Why? Because we have a viewpoint of everything. Let me illustrate. You are watching a football game and a questionable flag is tossed near the end of a close game. No conclusive evidence one way or another is shown on the replay. Fans of the team it goes for will be ecstatic while fans on the other side of the fence will cry conspiracy. Or take an automobile accident. Twenty people may witness a 4 car pile-up and more than likely, none of their testimonies will be exactly alike. They saw the event from different vantage points; thus they interpreted it differently. It’s the same way with how we view God. We all come from certain backgrounds and have been greatly influenced by the environment in which we have been fostered. Immigrants that are illegal probably read Exodus much differently than American citizens do. Those in prison probably read Paul’s letters in a different light than those who have never gotten close to breaking a law. We all carry baggage. We all have different vantage points of God. Why do you think there are four gospels and why do you think the early church fathers did not reduce them into one gospel like it was proposed? Why do you think God can be seen as a peace-maker in one part of the bible and a warrior God in another? Read through the Psalms – a multitude of diverse images are utilized in relation to God. Because we cannot know an unadulterated God, not influenced by our preconceptions or our background, the only thing we are left with is our view of God.

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