FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
April 17, 2015
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part IV
THE THREE PERSONS OF THE GODHEAD (Page 3)
Monotheism and Polytheism: Monotheism literally means “the belief in only one God.” The three major world monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Arab American Museum claims that “all three originated on what is known today as the Arab world.” It says further that:
Judaism is the oldest, being 3500 years old. “Jews believe that God made a promise (called the first covenant) to Abraham, the he would be a father to a great people if he followed God’s instructions. Jews believe that God renewed the covenant (the second covenant) with Moses, who led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt . God also revealed the 10 commandments to the Jews as a set of rules to follow.”
Christianity is “nearly 2,000 years old, beginning around 30 CE with the death of Jesus Christ. There is a strong Christian tradition in many parts of the Arab world. Some Arab Christians are the descendants of the very first Christians, and the world’s oldest churches [structures] are found in the Arab world. Some church services in the Arab world are still delivered in Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.”
Islam—“is about 1300 years old and recognized Moses, Jesus, and many others as prophets. The prophet Muhammad (450-632 CE) was born in Mecca , in present day Saudi-Arabia, and is considered the last of the prophets. Moslems believe that Islam began in 610 CE when Muhammad started receiving revelations from God, or Allah in Arabic. These revelations are recorded in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.”
Polytheism, is “the belief that there are many gods. Breaking the word down, poly’ comes from the Greek word for ‘many, and ‘theism’ from the Greek word for ‘God.’ The best known example of polytheism in ancient times is Greek/Roman mythology (Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, Poseidon, etc). The clearest modern example of polytheism is Hinduism, which has over 300 million gods. Although Hinduism, in essence, is pantheistic, it does hold to belief in many gods. It is interesting to note that even in polytheistic religions, one god usually reigns supreme over the other gods, e.g. Zeus In Greek/Roman mythology and Brahman in Hinduism.” (See gotQuestions.org)
Hinduism’s Version of the Trinity
“The Hindu Trinity of God is of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. They are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu, and the cosmic mind, Brahma. In this regard they are called Sat-Tat-Aum, the Being, that Thatness or immanence and the Word or the holy spirit. . . . Each God in the [Hindu] trinity has his consort. To Brahma is Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge. For Vishnu is Laskshmi, the Goddess of love, beauty and delight. For Shiva is Kali (Parvati), the Goddess of power, destruction and transformation. These are the three main forms of the Goddess. As Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are the three main forms of the God. The three Goddesses were often worshipped in their own right as well as along with their spouses.
But the [Hindu] trinity is not connected to LOVE. In fact there is no God in Hinduism for LOVE excepting one, i.e., MANMADAN or KAMDEV, who is not considered as full-fledged God. He and his mate Rati were responsible for love-making. He is supposed to have been the son of Brahma and this Kamdev was burnt in HOLI DAY.” – See http://hindu.net.org/god/trinity.
Does Buddhism believe in the Trinity? What kind?
Buddhism, says gotQuesitons.org is “is one of the world leading religions in terms of adherents, geographical distribution, and socio-cultural influence. While largely an ‘Eastern’ religion, it is becoming increasinglypopular and influential in the Western world. It is a unique world religion in its own right, though it has much in common with Hinduism in that both teach Karma (cause-and-effect ethics), Maya (the illusory nature of the world), and Samsara (the cycle of reincarnation).”
As of 2010 Wikipedia says Buddhism is practiced by an estimated 488 million, representing 7% to 8% of the world’s population. According to Peter Harvey’s demographical 2013 study Eastern Buddhism (Mahayana), has 360 million adherents’ Southern Buddhism (Theravada), 150 million adherents; Northern Buddhism (Vajrayana), 18.2 million adherents. Seven million additional Buddhists are found outside Asia .
“Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Guatama, was born into royalty in India around 600 B.C. As the story goes, he lived luxuriously, with little exposure to the outside world. His parents intended for him to be spared from the influence of religion and protected from pain and suffering. However, it was not long before his shelter was penetrated, and he had visions of an aged man, a sick man, and a corpse. His fourth vision was of a peaceful ascetic monk (one who denies luxury and comfort). Seeing the monk’s peacefulness, he decided to0 become an ascetic himself. He abandoned his life of wealth and affluence to pursue enlightenment through austerity.
He was skilled at this sort of self-mortification and intense meditation. He was a leader among his peers. Eventually, his efforts culminated in one final gesture. He ‘indulged’ himself with one bowl of rice and then sat beneath a fig tree (also called the Bodhi tree) to meditate till he either reached ‘enlightenment’ or died trying. Despite his travails and temptations, by the next morning, he had achieved enlightenment. Thus, he became known as the ‘enlightened one’ of the ‘Buddha.’ He took his new realization and began to teach his fellow monks, with who he had already gained great influence. Five of his peers became the first of his disciples.
“What had Gautama discovered? Enlightenment lay in ‘the middle way,’ not in luxurious indulgence or self-mortification. Moreover, he discovered what would become known the ‘Four Noble Truths’—1) to live is to suffer (Dukha), 2) suffering is caused by desire (Tanha, or ‘attachment’), 3) one can eliminate suffering by eliminating all attachments, and 4) this is achieved by following the noble eightfold path, consisting of having a right 1) view, 2) intention, 3) speech, 4) action, 5)livelihood (being a monk), 6) effort (properly direct energies), 7) mindfulness (meditation) and 8) concentration (focus). The Buddha’s teachings were collected into the Tripitaka or ‘three baskets.’
“Behind these distinguishing teachings are teachings common to Hinduism, namely reincarnation, karma, Maya, and a tendency to understand reality as being pantheistic in its orientation. Buddhism also offers an elaborate theology of deities and exalted beings. However, like Hinduism, Buddhism can be hard to pin down as to its view of God. Some streams of Buddhism could legitimately be called atheistic, while others could be called pantheistic, and still others theistic, such as Pure Land Buddhism. Classical Buddhism, however, tends to be silent on the reality of an ultimate being and is therefore considered atheistic.”
The Importance of Knowing that God is a Three-Person Godhead
A reader’s post on the Dec. 11, 2014 Yahoo news that veteran FOX News correspondent Dominic de Natale had committed suicide at the age of 43 caught my eye. The reader named Rich quoted from an influential American psychiatrist, who wrote:
“When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins with a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape. In the same way the human being struggles with his environment and with the hooks that catch him. Sometimes he masters his difficulties; sometimes they are too much for him. His struggles are all the world sees and it naturally misunderstands them. It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.”- Karl A. Menninger.
Menninger also argued that “psychiatry was a science and that the mentally-ill were only slightly different from health individuals—and that crime was preventable through psychiatric treatment.” (See Wikipedia).
Notice that all these religious and secular wisdom eliminates/confuses the Biblical definition of the true nature of man, sin, death, and the everlasting gospel.
While it is true that our individual struggles with the (rapidly-deteriorating) environment and with (individual) “hooks”— Satan’s unnumbered schemes and temptations—is what the spiritually undiscerning world around us only sees and misunderstands, including being misdiagnosed by modern psychiatry and medicine itself, all Bible-believing Christians rejoice that we have this hope that burns brightly within our hearts—that the three Persons of the Godhead and the mighty angels are working in concert to save all penitent sinners from all manner of evil. All that is asked of us is to give our heart and surrender our will to our Creator, Redeemer, and Mediator. Willing consent and daily intelligent participation in the plan of redemption through “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13: 14)—not psychiatric treatment or the world’s greatest religions—is mankind’s only hope of victory over temptation, sinful propensities, sin, death, the grave, and immortality!
(To be continued next week)