Course: Biblical Worldview I: Only Two Religions?
Section 3B Religions Are Two
Religions Are Two
Oneism is defined as the worship of creation, where all is one when creation is worshipped and served as divine. In Oneism all distinctions are eliminated and through “enlightenment” Oneism proclaims that man is also divine.
Twoism is defined as the worship of the divine Creator of all things. In Twoism God alone is divine and is distinct from His creation, yet through His Son, Jesus, God is in loving communion with His creation.
There are only two religions: worship of the Creator or worship of the creation. This is not some crazy, intolerant idea that truthXchange has dreamed up. God insisted on this truth to his people ever since the beginning. Adam and Eve could listen to God’s voice or to the voice of a created being who told them they weren’t experiencing enough benefits by sticking with God’s plan. The people of Israel could choose to worship the pagan gods of their fathers and the gods of the nations around them, or the I AM, who delivered them from slavery. All through their history, the choice was the same: The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (a God of love, power and the Word) or the mute idols made from half a stick, the other half of which was thrown into the fire to keep them warm (see also Jeremiah 10:5; Psalm 115:4-8). Even Jesus had to make this choice when the devil tempted him to find an easier way to accomplish his mission on earth, rather than doing his Father’s will. (Luke 4:1-13) Of course, Jesus knew that Satan’s way would never work, but it took tremendous courage and determination as well as loving obedience to God for Jesus to walk forward to the cross and the suffering he would endure.
The Apostle Paul picks up the same thread in Romans 1, when he says that we worship and serve either the Creator or the creation. In this section of Scripture, Paul shows that we have either a Oneist approach (creation is self-contained and deserves worship) or a Twoist approach (God the Creator, who is outside his creation is the only one worthy of worship). Our choice affects:
1. What we think about God (theology); Romans 1:18-20
2. How we worship (spirituality); Romans 1:21-23
3. What we do with our bodies in this life (represented by Paul in our choice of sexuality, as well as other things). Romans 1:24-32
A Oneist believes that God is no different than creation, and so he worships and serves something created, which means that he is the one who decides what to worship and usually ends up worshiping himself! A Oneist will naturally seek to suppress the distinctions God has placed in the world and may be tempted to embody his Oneist tendencies in a Oneist sexuality, such as homosexuality, transgenderism or lesbianism. This is not true for every individual Oneist, of course, but it is a logical extension of Oneism in the area of sexual expression. Many Oneist scholars and religions promote homosexuality as a logical expression of their beliefs.
A Twoist, on the other hand, believes in a God who defines himself and is not defined by creation—a God who speaks to us and is ultimately known by us in some way, even by those who think they are denying him. Twoist worships the Creator God, looking outside himself to praise, honor, pray to and sing about a God whose existence is separate from his. A Twoist recognizes the distinctions God put in the world as a reflection of the distinction between the Creator and the creation. Sexuality is one of those distinctions, and so a Twoist rejoices in the sexual differences between men and women and enjoys normal, created sexual relations within the marriage structure ordered by the Creator.
Have you ever wondered why the Apostle Paul highlights homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27 since he mentions so many other sins a few verses later (such as envy, murder, deceit, gossip and so on, Romans 1:28-31)? What Paul writes about homosexuality makes sense in his argument: If you believe in a God who is “other,” then you will worship something “other” and will be in human sexual relationship with someone who is “other” (male or female). One Oneist author calls homosexuality the “sacrament of monism” (Oneism). In other words, homosexuality is a natural outworking in the sexual area of Oneist belief. It is not the worst or the unforgivable sin, and the sins Paul cites in the verses that follow are also results of a Oneist system, but he chooses sexuality because heterosexual, life-long marriage was set apart by God as a special picture of Jesus’ love for the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). God knit into the very fabric of creation in our physical sexuality a reminder of his “otherness” and of the communion we can have with him. We all know how deeply sexual relations affect us. God made us sexual beings so we could have some human experience that opens our understanding to the depth and intimacy of God’s love for his people. When God created us in his image, male and female, he created the first sign-post pointing to Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross.
Twoism teaches different things in each of the three areas mentioned:
- Theology (what we believe about God in our minds)
- Spirituality (how we worship and serve God)
- Sexuality and other areas of living in our bodies (how we relate in the most intimate of human relationships—marriage)
We saw in the last section that Oneists suppress the revelation of God, that they turn their worship to nature and that through the debased mind, they end up seeking after all kinds of unnatural and unholy activities and attitudes.
Twoists believe that God is other. He is transcendent, far above us. God has also made us in his image and has revealed himself to us in the beauty of the created world, in the Bible and in his son, Jesus. Even though God is so far above us, he makes himself known to us and creates intimacy with us. We can know him because of these ways he has chosen to reveal his nature. This is best seen in the amazing love he showed us by sending Jesus to take our sin and to give us his righteousness in exchange (Romans 3:21-26). That’s an exchange that is so good, it is hard to believe!
Twoists do not want to destroy the difference between God and the world. They serve God in the world, humbly responding to God’s great mercy and asking him to help them obey and honor him. The worship of a Twoist doesn’t have a lot to do with trances, experience or self-focused meditation. Of course many Christians often experience an amazing sense of God’s presence, but Christian worship and service is also very practical and doesn’t seem like the spirituality the world is seeking. Worship and service involves our love of and obedience to God in self-sacrifice, longsuffering, patience, humility, peace, kindness and suffering. It avoids judging, anger, gossip and pride. It is often remarkable because it doesn’t seek to show off or find amazing, impressive things to do or be (1 Corinthians 13). It entails loving a spouse, being patient with children, working honestly in the office or doing a thorough job in all that’s undertaken (Psalm 15). But people do notice the difference when Christians live this way!
A Twoist must listen to how God defines sexuality. The marriage bond that God set up at the beginning of creation is not a social structure that human beings found and God thought was a good idea. It was knit into the fabric of human relationships from the start. It is a picture of the love and union Jesus will have with his church. We should treat this union with the highest respect. Men and women, different as they are, are suited for each other. The marriage of a man and a woman is an amazingly beautiful communion that produces new life—children. The unity in the family was meant to be strong and unbreakable, just as God’s love for his Bride, the Church, is also unbreakable.
Twoists believe in sin. Oneists don’t. The good news about sin is that something can be done about it. Oneists really have no answer for the things they know are wrong in the world. Sin has been dealt with through Jesus and one day will disappear from the earth. But that day will come after Jesus returns to judge the world. There will be a judgment because God knows there is sin and has promised to be faithful and just to forgive the sin of those whose faith is in Christ, but he will in no way “clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7).
Christians must not give up on announcing the good news of the gospel, which means we must also tell people the bad news of the Fall.
Read the following verses and discuss how marriage expresses Christ’s love for his Bride, the church:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods.” (Hosea 3:1)
Challenge Question: for discussion in a group or for personal reflection—
How does Oneism affect:
1. How we think about God (theology),
2. How we worship God (spirituality), and
3. How we live in our bodies (sexually, among other ways)?