Why are there similarities between Christianity and other religions?

Watch the complete sermon here: https://www.bridges.church/messages/in-the-beginning-genesis-1-1-2/

Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. This last week, we started a new series on the goodness of creation, looking at a God who not only created, but created out of love and out of delight. I talked a little bit about other creation narratives from other religions, from the ancient world, even modern day, kind of a naturalistic creation without a creator. And then in that case, if there was no creator, there’s no meaning or purpose behind the universe. So the question comes in this week, what should we really make of these other creation narratives that have similarities with Christianity?

Sometimes Christians can get kind of nervous and say, “Oh, well, because our creation narrative matches somebody else’s creation narrative over here, then maybe that means that they’re right too.” Or do we really have an exclusive handle on the truth? And I would say we shouldn’t worry at all about where Christianity overlaps with other creation narratives. There are a lot of common elements, and of course, in other religions, there’s a lot of commonality between what they say is right and wrong and how people should live and the Ten Commandments. A lot of that just falls into the category of common grace.

That the one true creator gave all of humanity a knowledge of him. And so there remains in every human some amount of awareness of the true God. And then that plays itself out in different beliefs and different practices, and a lot of those share commonality. I would say instead of focusing on what’s similar, to enjoy the uniqueness of Christianity is really instead to focus on what’s different. And where Christianity is different is where I think it really shines as a truly better story.

There is no other religion that believes God is Trinity. And as we said, that really precludes God being able to create out of love that he already had within himself. If God is singular and there are other monotheistic religions, but if God is only singular and not also trinity, then he created out of a display of power, or created to rule or created in order to have something to love, but didn’t have love in himself to start with. And that’s more problematic. That means power drove the creation of the universe, or authoritarianism or neediness drove the creation of the universe.

And the Christian story is God was already completely whole within himself, satisfied relationally and in every other way. And he created out of an overflow of what was already in him. And that means, really, love drove the creation of the universe. Of course, the Christian God also has a unique handle on grace. Really, every other religion, as we say a lot is about being good enough, right enough, long enough, and you eventually earn your reward.

And Christianity is just totally different from all of that, in that we weren’t good enough, right, enough, long enough. We didn’t measure up. And yet still God comes to rescue by taking the penalty that we owe and giving us the reward that we don’t deserve. And just those two beliefs alone, Trinity and grace, I believe, are enough to make Christianity uniquely compelling and what we would want to be true in the universe, and what we really, especially in terms of grace, what we really need for our lives. And so when we’re looking at other religions, we celebrate what is similar.

But where Christianity is different is is what makes it so compelling. So I hope that helps. And thanks for the question. Bye.