It has been said jokingly, “In the beginning God created man in His image, and ever since then man has been trying to return the favor.” I wish I knew who said that. The reason we find some things amusing is because they typically are based on some degree on truth. Given the current cultural perspective of God here in America, this statement might actually be funny if it weren’t so gravely true.
According to a Gallup poll published in June of 2011, ninety-two percent of Americans believe in God. That percentage has remained fairly constant over the years, but a recent Barna Group study revealed some insightful statistics. While fifty-six percent of Americans believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, only thirty-seven percent read it at least once a week. When Americans say they believe in God, but do not read the Bible, the question arises; who is this God Americans say they believe in?
Many churches and denominations have articles of faith or doctrinal statements that summarize the basic tenets of what they believe. They typically begin with a statement about the Bible or God. Under our church’s statement of What We Believe, we begin with a statement on the Scriptures. This is not mere coincidence; we believe the Bible to the foundation for everything else we believe. We believe in God, but everything we believe about Him is based on what He has revealed to us about Himself in His Word. We believe in God, the God of the Bible.
Someone is always saying or writing something about his or her God, “my god would do this,” or “my god wouldn’t do that.” From the man on the street, to journalists, to politicians, everyone seems to have their own opinion about God’s nature and will. And for the most part, what they say is completely foreign to what the Bible says about God. That is understandable, if like many Americans, you believe in God but do not read the Bible; you are left to your imagination to conjure up a god that agrees with your particular perspective. You imagine a god who serves your likes and dislikes, instead of a God who should be served and obeyed.
While such a view is very convenient, I do not believe there are that many gods. Even if I did not believe in the God of the Bible, my concept of God would not be a god who exists to serve me. I do not believe you can have your own personal god.
God told Moses, “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other,” Deuteronomy 4:39. That sounds like a God who is much different than your own personal god, whoever you are.