Creating a god in your own image can have many temporal benefits. Such a deity would reflect your views and sanctify your behavior. He or she might even make your own behavior look better in comparison. The ancient Greek and Roman gods, who could be extremely nasty and selfish beings, are good examples of this benefit. The gods of other pagan cultures were no better. These various gods and the God Who revealed Himself in Scripture, are nothing alike. Jeff Sanders, who wrote 5 Major Differences Between the Greco-Roman Gods and the God of the Bible, states:
The pagan gods are just sinful “big people,” while the God of the Bible is the sinless Uncreated Creator.
After describing the God of Scripture, Sanders describes the gods of human invention:
The Greek gods definitely had a beginning. Hesiod tells us in his “Theogony” that the first gods (such as Gaia and Eros) emerged from the nothingness of Chaos. They came into existence, gave birth to titans, who in turn sired gods such as Zeus, who in turn sired other gods. They were all sinful. They all made mistakes. They all fought one another, deceived one another, had sex with (or raped) humans, and have no control over history. They are not omniscient, omnipotent, or omni-present.
Many cult groups of our day (those that are “Bible-based,” claiming to be Christian), invent gods too, though they generally try to tie their god and their man-made religion to the Bible, claiming that their god is the God of the Scriptures.
Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the group formerly known as Mormon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, created a god with his own base nature. Smith’s god is a finite god who was born as a spirit being to other gods who themselves had been born as spirit beings to other gods before them, going back to time immemorial. Smith’s god, as all the gods before him, obtained a physical body by being born on a planet and worked his way up to godhood. He took his many wives and his spirit children to a little planet he created near the star Kolob. These spirit children were eventually sent to planet Earth where they could obtain physical bodies, giving them the opportunity to follow all the rules, obtain many wonderful Mormon wives – you know, to bear his spirit children – and eventually, if these kids did it right, also will become gods of their own little planet.
Makes perfect sense, this god of Joseph Smith, though it’s hard to imagine what’s in it for women. As it turns out their husbands decide whether or not to call them up in the resurrection and if that happens they get to become goddesses for the purpose of being forever pregnant! It sounds like a religion that a man would make up, as indeed it was!
A few things have changed over the years. Because of the laws of the United States, right now these “gods in the making” on Earth are prevented from having multiple wives, on this planet at least, so the Mormons had to change with the times on that score. There are fundamentalist Mormon sects who still practice polygamy, though their marriages are not (yet) recognized by law. Things going as they are in this country, polygamy will likely be eventually legalized, because – why not?
In the meanwhile, the papa god is still busy producing spirit children on his own little planet with his many wives, a primary responsibility it would appear. And without TV sports, what else would he do anyway? (This short 6 minute video may be helpful). Now here is a strange thing – when it came to Jesus’ birth, papa god himself inexplicably popped down to earth to have sexual relations with his own daughter Mary, in order to provide a physical body for his son Jesus. Now that would be an incestuous relationship, which was forbidden in the Old Testament, illegal then but will probably be lawful soon in the United States because, I mean, why not?
Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to receive his religious revelations directly from an angel, Moroni, who dropped in to see him and taught him all about the real god and polygamy and stuff. This all turned out to be very fortunate for Joseph Smith Jr., who followed in his god’s footsteps and went on to accumulate 47 wives. Joe tried to claim his god was the REAL God of Scripture, but since nothing in Scripture could be used to validate his novel views, he simply claimed the Bible had been corrupted and brought his own scriptures to the table (The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants) to fix that little problem.
Charles Taze Russell founded the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, called the Bible Students in his day, which is the publishing and teaching arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He too created a god of his own liking in his own image. In his version, god is not omnipresent, but like Joseph Smith’s god, lives on a planet. In this case the planet is in the Pleaides. Neither is he omniscient. Yes, Russell’s god has a fabulous brain and knows a lot – but not everything. In order to keep up with current events down here, he would send trusted angels to earth to bring him back updates. Russell figured that an angelic round trip would take about three days, so god, not having texting service, was a bit behind the times. Sometimes his god would even store data in the brains of trusted angels. Russell’s deity also was involved in occultism. Russell taught that god had inspired the pyramids of Egypt as his “stone witness.” Russell also believed in astrology and phrenology and other odd new agey type things and practices. He also set dates which his god gave him for Jesus’s arrival back to earth, but Jesus never did come on schedule, so there had to be a good bit of improvisation and chicanery. Well, of course Russell died, and the next President and future leaders made up many of their own rules and discarded much of Russell’s teachings as they received “new light” on the scripture. It didn’t even matter if the new teachings turn the old teachings on their head. That was then – this is now. So as time moved forward, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society continually reimagined and reinvented their “god” in order to give him more powers and abilities, and perhaps especially to give THEM more power over the flock. This is a very handy feature about the build-your-own-god thingy: You can change your god willy-nilly to better fit the times, as needed.
Gwen Shamblin, founder of Weigh Down Workshop and her own personal church, Remnant Fellowship, seems to have created a strongly masculine though rather inept god with limited knowledge. Her movement eventually was in over 30,000 churches and was sold to the churches as a Christian weight loss regime. While she was teaching the flock about “Christian Weight Loss,” she also taught them that their church and all others were completely wrong and that only she had “the truth.” Many followed her right out of their supposedly corrupt churches (teaching “pagan” trinitarianism) and into her wonderful new one. Thomas Nelson publishers assisted in getting the god of her imagination into the hands of the masses. In her book, Rise Above she describes a sort of heavenly Harrison Ford who wanted to give Satan a fighting chance to woo the masses:
“God is so good-looking, so athletic, so powerful, and so charming that upon first sight, we would all immediately bow down and adore Him. So, He made Himself invisible to make the contest a little more fair. On top of that, He is such a humble gentleman that He took us to Egypt and allowed us to meet His rival face-to-face.” 1Gwen Shamblin, Rise Above, Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2000, p24-25
It seems that her god is not omniscient, was a bit of a “dim bulb,” and didn’t know in advance what a tragic mistake it would be to allow us to meet that rascal Satan. About her god, she says:
He is going to let us “date around” – that’s plan A – so we can appreciate what a great choice He is. But unfortunately, some of His children – in fact, a lot of His children – have lost their focus and become distracted, and therefore found their hearts enslaved to Egypt, with no idea of how to get out of this relationship. This was not part of Plan A. So, God had to resort to Plan B: a duel – a boxing match – a fight.” 2Gwen Shamblin, Rise Above, Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2000, p25
I hate to break the news to the gatekeepers of the churches who allowed her to come in to teach, but her reference to “Egypt” was about your church!
In her Weigh Down Advanced Video “Sovereign Lord” she refers to god as the “CEO” who, is often “out of the office.” He has a magic chair which provides extra power, but he just doesn’t know what it is going on when he is out:
“The CEO was out of the office a lot. He [Satan] found it really a trip to just sit in the boss’s chair behind His desk. The chair was magic. You could do what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it, with no one to stop you. There were many perks being in the magic chair behind the desk…” (View clip)
Her god is not omniscient or omnipresent, since he is “out of the office a lot,” and so he is also remarkably gullible:
“This employee [Satan] was always careful to give praise to His face and in front of others; but behind His back, he was putting down authority which is absolutely essential if you’re going to get to the top. Now one day the boss returned and caught him sitting in His very own chair. This was shocking. Such defiance. He confronted this employee; and yet, the great CEO was so kind, that He accepted a ‘sorry’ and let him return to work.” (View clip)
Moving on, Kenneth Copeland’s god is about 6 feet tall and as Copeland describes Him, it is “very uncanny the way he’s very much like you and me.” When you create god in your own image it is not all that uncanny when he turns out to look and act like YOU or is subject to the same limitations as you are. Your god IS you. That’s why he thinks it’s a good idea to have multiple wives – all pregnant. That’s why he has to rely on angels to tell him what is going on. That’s why he is forced to change his mind and teachings all the time. That’s why he has no idea who is riding his magic chair!
Scripture is clear. God is eternally self-existent. He existed before He created anything – including time itself. He is omnipresent – not limited to time and space – and therefore, never “out of the office.” That also means He is not just slightly bigger than Kenneth Copeland and is not confined to a specific place far away from the action, as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have taught. He is omniscient, has all knowledge of all things past, present and future which means He is never surprised or shocked.
Creating a god of your own imagination is just not a good idea, especially at the end of the road. Yes, he will affirm your wishes, desires and behaviors in this life. Sadly though, he is NOT REAL. He cannot save you. The God of Scripture is REAL. He is all-powerful, and those of us who have been born-again by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone are assured that God is able and will keep us in His care until the day we meet Him face to face and throughout eternity.Ω
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End Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Gwen Shamblin, Rise Above, Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2000, p24-25|
|2.||↑||Gwen Shamblin, Rise Above, Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2000, p25|