Question: Is the Jewish God the same as Christianity?
Answer: The simple answer is no…but that answer isn’t so simple. Let me explain.
Following the fall (Adam’s rebellion) God exacted a plan by which all humanity could be restored to a right relationship with Him. This restoration of internal righteousness would not be accomplished by doing good works but by believing in God as He has revealed Himself. This is clearly articulated in the life of Abraham in Genesis 15:6. “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” To be declared righteous in the Old Testament times meant the individual had to place his trust in the one true God. However, a more detailed description of this God had not been revealed. This would not occur until the New Testament.
The key issue was the nature of God. The Christian God is Triune in nature. A definition of the Trinity is: One God subsists (continues to exist) in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal. God in His wisdom did not fully reveal His tri-personal identity until the incarnation (birth of Jesus). The Old Testament Jew was not expected to believe in the Trinity because the doctrine was progressively revealed in Scripture. Up until the New Testament we only find partial revelation of the multiple persons of the Godhead. Why did God delay full revelation? Here are two good reasons; 1) Without the birth of Jesus it would be difficult for people to grasp the Trinity. God had to patiently wait for second person of the Trinity (Jesus) to enter into the world, and 2) Abraham and the nation of Israel were surrounded by polytheistic cultures. During this time God would only require belief in the one true God to separate believers from the surrounding societies.
From a theological standpoint the Christian God has been Triune from all eternity past. There never was a time when God was not a Trinity. In Judaism they believe in one God and one person (the Father). They reject one God subsisting in three persons.
There are passages in the Old Testament that seem to point God’s Triune nature. Here are some of them:
- Genesis 1:26a “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”
- Genesis 3:22a “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil…”
- Isaiah 6:8a “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’”
These verses demonstrate a plurality of persons in God Himself. Nowhere is a number defined and nothing approaching a complete description of the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in the Old Testament.
The God of Christianity is Triune and only through faith in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, can someone be forgiven. Judaism rejects the Trinity and rejects Jesus as the Messiah. The Jew who doesn’t place his faith in Jesus is without a savior for sins.
Therefore, Christianity and Judaism worship different Gods. For a more in-depth study of the God of Christianity see my series called “Loving the Trinity.”
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