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5 Lies Our Culture Believes About God
God is described as a God of truth (Isa. 65:16). God always tells the truth because he cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Titus 1:2). Yet, as true as God is, people are often misinformed about him. There are lies constantly told and believed about God. When God looks at humanity he desires truth in our inner being (Ps. 51:6) and will not tolerate falsehood from us.
God has revealed himself to us in scripture so that we can know the truth and be set free (Jn. 8:31-32). Primarily, he wants us to know the truth about himself and how we are to relate to him and one another in light of the truth. The world tells us many lies, but its most dangerous lies are the lies it tells about God.
We need to know the truth about God and be able to defend it against the lies in the culture. Even more importantly, we need to immunize our own hearts against the lies we are sometimes tempted to believe and accept. We need to sure up our own beliefs about God and make sure that what we believe about him is what he has revealed and not what we have imagined. Below are five lies that are told and believed about God. Let’s be familiar with the lies about God, but only to make sure that we are more familiar with the truth so that we can share it with others.
Lie #1: God Does Not Exist
The arguments from atheists are changing, but the claim for God’s non-existence is still there. People hear this lie told so often that they do not even question it. The Bible does not open with a detailed defense of the existence of God. Instead, the Bible begins by assuming God’s existence is believed by readers and speaking of his powerful work to create the world and everything in it (Gen. 1:1).
This does not mean that the Bible fails to provide proof of God’s existence. The psalmist says the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1-6). Paul said those who deny God’s existence or live like he is not there are without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).
When we look at the created world with its intricate design as humans with the intellectual capacity to reason, create, and learn we realize we are not here by accident. If we are listening, the natural world speaks to us all the time to inform us that there is someone above nature, above humanity, and there is a divine architect behind it all (Heb 3:4).
The lie that says God does not exist may temporarily soothe us as we look to science or some natural explanation to give credit to for all there is. As we continue to dig deeper, however, we see that science tells us what exists, but it cannot tell us why.
The Bible says the world exists because God created it (Ps. 33:6, 9). More than that, the Bible says we exist and are special as humans because God created us in his own image (Gen. 1:26-27). The lie that says God is not there fails to appreciate the only reason why we can even contemplate his existence is because he made us in the first place (Acts 17:26-28).
Lie #2: The God of the Old Testament Is Different From the God of the New Testament
This lie is sometimes even believed by Christians. Many claim that the Old Testament God is presented as harsh, unloving, cold, and exacting. However, the New Testament God is love, peace, and mercy. This is a false idea and a misrepresentation of the God of the Bible. The Bible teaches that God does not change (Mal. 3:6; cf. Heb. 13:8). Therefore, however, we view God in the Old Testament, we must also view him that way in the New Testament. Keep in mind that God can change covenants without changing his character.
In Exodus 34:6-7 God describes himself as “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
This picture of God is who he is, who he has always been, and who he always will be. God is who he is (Exod. 3:14). The gracious, forgiving, and kind God that we read about in the New Testament is present throughout the Old Testament (cf. Mt. 11:28-30; Eph. 2:4-9). The wrathful God who punished sin in the Old Testament still does the same today under the New Testament (Heb. 10:26-31; 12:29).
The way to approach God in worship, the pathway to salvation, and the covenant regulations are different under the New Testament, but God is the same. We must study the Bible in its entirety and reject the lie which says the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.
Lie #3: God Does Not Care About Our Happiness
Some time ago, the phrase, “God does not care about your happiness, he is only concerned with your holiness” became popular. This may be a good attempt to emphasize holiness over our own personal preference, but it fails to fully capture the picture of God’s desires for his people.
The Bible commands us to rejoice frequently (Neh. 8:10; Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16). Several New Testament books mention God’s desire for our joy to be full (Jn. 15:11; 1 Jn. 1:4; 2 Jn. 1:12). God does care about our happiness but not at the expense of our holiness.
John Piper has captured this idea well with his famous quote, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” God wants us to be happy, or joyful, as we further, strengthen, and develop our relationship with him (Ps. 16:2, 11). God is not a fan of our happiness at the cost of our relationship with him. However, God wants nothing more than for us to be happy in our service to him and to delight in doing his will just like Jesus did (Ps. 40:8; Jn. 4:34).
God is not anti-human happiness. God is interested in ridding our lives of counterfeit happiness and replacing it with biblical joy and happiness that springs from being able to view things from God’s heavenly perspective (Ps. 122:1).
Lie #4: God Is Fine With You Rejecting Him
This lie is phrased many ways, but the basic idea is that God is perfectly okay with you choosing to follow him or choosing to reject him. God does not care if you are religious or if you decide to choose some other path to spirituality. While God will not force us to follow him, the Bible is clear there is only one way to God and that is through his Son Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Jesus described himself as the only way to God (Jn. 14:6).
If we try and get to God some other way or try and find spiritual fulfillment through some other avenue, we will be disappointed, and we will anger and disrespect God in the process. The fastest-growing religious group in our country currently are the religious “nones.” The “nones” are those who do not identify with any religion. In our post-modern, relativistic culture, we may be tempted to believe that God is perfectly fine with this buffet-style of spirituality, but he is not.
The gospels in particular mention how God’s wrath was going to be poured out on the Jews who rejected him during his earthly ministry (Mt. 24:1-35). The New Testament mentions how Jesus will come in vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel and those who do not know God (2 Thess. 1:7-9). These are not theological scare tactics; these are simply scriptural facts.
We must not believe the lie that says to be religiously moderate or to kindly dismiss God is acceptable. God is not okay with it. God is not pleased with those who think they have better things to do than submit to him. He leaves the choice to us, but not the consequences. We must choose wisely, and that means choosing to seriously follow him (1 Thess. 1:8-10).
Lie #5: You Do Not Need God’s Direction
We have Google, Siri, and Alexa, so maybe we have graduated from having to be directed by God, right? Wrong. The lie we are all tempted to believe is that we may need God’s help in the spiritual things, but in the day-to-day affairs of human life we will be just fine on our own.
The wisdom literature in the Bible calls for us to let God direct our paths (Ps. 119:133; Prov. 3:5-6). We should be praying for God to direct us and looking to his word of direction. The world would have us believe we are smart enough to go at it alone, but we should know better. We need God to guide us in every matter of our lives—not just in spiritual matters—since he made us and knows what is best for us.
Pride will tell us that we do not need divine aid, but pride always leads to a fall (Prov. 16:18). We need the humility that says, “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). We are never going to outgrow our need for God and his direction, so we shouldn’t pretend like we have.
The world is full of lies, but our lives do not have to be. As we study God’s word and allow it to mold our hearts and lives, we can know the truth and help others to know it as well. It’s easy to see the lies others have believed about God but sometimes difficult to see the ones we have believed and accepted ourselves. May we reject the lies about God and stick with the truth.
“Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.”