What is the major difference between the one true God of the Torah and all the pagan gods people worshipped in ancient days?
It is not so much that they worshipped idols, and it is not so much that they had many gods and we have one.
The difference is God’s agenda!
Before the Torah people worshipped gods because they presumed these idols had power. The whole purpose of religion was to appease these gods.They made offerings to bribe the gods not to use their presumed power to harm the worshippers or perhaps to induce them to use their power to help them.
Our God’s agenda was and is different.
The God of the Torah created the world with the hope that we human beings, who are charged with responsibility for the quality of life on earth, would create on this planet a just, caring, compassionate and peaceful society.
God’s first attempt in the Garden of Eden failed!
So did God’s second attempt that ended with the flood because the world was full of violence, corruption and immorality.
But God does not give up!
After the flood God tried a third time, with the promise that the Eternal One would never destroy the earth again.
Take note: God promised never to destroy the earth again, but there was never a guarantee that we humans will not.
But that third society, after the flood, worked out no better than the other two.
After the Tower of Babel God had a serious three-pronged dilemma:
- God still cared and would not give up the hope that humans could create the society God wanted.
- God was still dismayed by human failure to do so.
- God had promised never to destroy the earth again.
God’s answer to this dilemma was to choose Abraham and Sarah and their descendants (that is all of us) to create the just, caring and compassionate society for which God has yearned since the time of creation.
God’s charge to Abraham, “Be a blessing,” is God’s charge to us today!
If each of us seeks to use our individual talents in ways that bring blessings to others and not just to ourselves, we can have—at last—the type of world God wants.
(For more detailed development of these ideas, please read, What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives. The book is now available in English, German, Russian and Spanish. Here is the Amazon link:)