by Rich Maffeo
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
For though the fig tree blossom not, nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Throughout history, many cultures have embraced polytheism. I wonder if one reason they did so was an attempt to explain the sudden disasters humankind experiences. Perhaps they reasoned that if one god controlled human affairs, random tragedies wouldn't occur. Earthquakes, tornados, and floods were likely the result of gods competing for dominance over our world.
Christians reject polytheism for many good reasons. Let's look at two.
First, we recognize our limitation to discover answers to life's unpredictable troubles. How can the finite comprehend the infinite, the created the Creator, the pot the potter? This was the problem Job and his counselors bandied for the first 37 chapters of that Old Testament book. They never came up with a satisfactory answer, and when God broke into their debate, He moved beyond their arguments to a more fundamental issue: Who were they to question God? (Chapters 38 42)
Second, we know God reveals His existence in various ways. His magnificence permeates nature. The psalmist wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft" (Psalm 19:2 5). He declared through the prophets, "I am the first and I am the last; there is no God but Me" (Isaiah 44:6). And He revealed His mercy through His Son, "In these last days, (God) spoke to us through a Son, whom He made heir of all things and through whom He created the universe, who is the radiance of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word" (Hebrews 1:1 3).
The very first sentence of the Creed captures the essence of a foundational truth: God is one. Inherent in that statement is also our declaration that despite life's unexpected hardships and tragedies, we will never turn from serving Him. If mountains fall into the sea, if the earth shakes loose everything we thought secure, God is still God.
And we will bow to no other.
Prayer: Who is like You, Oh Lord, my God? Who can compare with Your power, majesty or mercy? You are my Creator. I belong to You. I give You my heart and my life. I will honor no other gods, no idols, no masters before You. Amen.
These meditations are compiled in Richard Maffeo's book, "One God: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and his website
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