A drastic impact of Satan’s deceptive tactics in Genesis 3 is that from this point onwards our human understanding of God became confused. We no longer know who God is. Indeed our perception of ‘god’ became quite different from the real God. Prior to Genesis 3 our human knowledge of God was pure and accurate. It was obviously not exhaustive knowledge of God, because God is infinite, but it was true knowledge. Adam and Eve knew God, and they knew who God was. Satan’s questions and suggestions corrupted and distorted their perception of God. This corruption and distortion persists to this day.

This confusion about who or what God is is evident in the multitude of differing concepts of God:

Agnosticism believes that it is not possible to know if there is a ‘god’, or to know ‘god’ even if there is a ‘god’ there.

Animism believes that spirit-gods inhabit all natural objects, and fears these spirits.

Atheism believes that there is no such thing as a ‘god’, that ‘god’ is merely a human religious invention.

Deism believes that there is a creator God, but he is not involved in the world. He set everything in motion, but now leaves it and us to ourselves.

Determinism believes that everything, including what we do, is pre-determined by a range of factors/forces. In its non-religious form it denies the existence of God.

Dualism has two expressions [1] belief that God and Satan (or good and evil) are equal powers; or [2] belief that God and ‘matter’ are both eternal.  

Fatalism, a religious version of determinism, believes that there is an all-powerful God, and that he has predetermined everything that happens.

Henotheism believes in local gods [compare polytheism and animism].    

Materialism [Naturalism] believes that ‘matter’ – the natural, physical world - is all there is [compare atheism and evolution].    

Monism believes that all is one.    

Monotheism is belief in one god.    

Panentheism believes that ‘god’ is in everything.    

Pantheism believes that all is god [including concepts like ‘mother earth’, ‘cosmic mind’ etc].    

Polytheism believes in many gods.

Secular humanism believes that man is the centre of all things; there is no god, no spiritual dimension [compare atheism].    

Spiritism believes in, communicates with, and worships/fears the spirits.    

Theism usually refers to belief in a personal God who is involved in the world, as distinct from deism.

It is commonly assumed and taught that the existence of these diverse concepts of ‘god’ is proof that all religions and belief systems are the product of various human cultures without any basis in reality.

But the Bible gives us another explanation: that the religions of man are corruptions of the true truth, handed down with ever-changing and multiplying distortions as the human race spread over the earth. The religious of men are counterfeits. Their existence as counterfeit religions confirms the existence of the real truth, the real God. They are corrupt distortions of the original truth.

Into this context of confusion and corruption Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came and said:

‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ [John 8:12].

‘If you hold to my teaching … you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ [John 8:31,32].

‘I am the … truth … If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him … Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ [John 14:6,7,9]

The disciple John wrote:

‘… the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true’ [1John 5:20].

May we all quickly discard our own personal or inherited concepts of ‘god’, and return to the true God who reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ. Then we will know the true truth. Then we will be set free.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013, 2016