Do All Paths Lead to God?

January 29, 2019

A compilation

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There is a common belief today that “all roads lead to God.” While it is noble to respect each other’s religious faith, the Bible teaches that the only way a person can be reconciled to God is on God’s terms...

Jesus Christ claims to be the only way to eternal salvation. In his own words Jesus declared: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”1

Logically, if there really is a God, then we must come to him by his own prescribed way! That prescribed road, according to the God of the Bible, is by faith in Jesus Christ. Religions are based on various systems of works, whereas Christianity is based on Jesus and what he has already done for us.

Therefore ... [i]t cannot be true that “all roads lead to God.” The various teachings about God from different religions contradict each other in critical ways. God cannot at the same time be both impersonal and personal, both singular and triune, both finite and infinite, both knowable and unknowable.

There is no way to reconcile the various worldviews, such as pantheism, monotheism, and polytheism. Therefore, logically, either none of them—or only one—is true! The real issue is Truth, an issue of infinite importance.—From crossway.org2

Religious pluralism

The religious pluralism that gives me pause is not merely the reality of diversity of religious beliefs in a culture—a pluralism of views—and our obligation to live in peace with those who do not share our own convictions. That strikes me as self-evident.

The pluralism that concerns me [are the following views]: That, generally speaking, all religions are each, on their own terms, legitimate roads to God. God has somehow ordained various paths for various people and diverse cultures. Therefore, no one is within his rights saying that his religion is better than anyone else’s. God is bigger than our limited theological categories, some would say (or, according to bumper-sticker logic, “God is too big to fit into one religion.”). Christ is the path for Christians, but others have legitimate paths of their own…

Christians reject pluralism, in part, because defining elements of different religions contradict each other. Judaism teaches Jesus is not the Messiah. Christianity teaches He is. Jesus either is the Messiah or He is not. Both groups can’t be right.

The notion that Christianity and Judaism are somehow equally true is contradictory, like square circles. Other examples abound. What happens when we die? Some religions promote Heaven and Hell. Others teach reincarnation. Still others say there is no conscious afterlife at all, only the grave.

When we shuffle off this mortal coil, we may go to Heaven or Hell, or we might be reincarnated, or we could disappear altogether. But we can’t do them all at the same time. Someone is mistaken. It’s possible all of these options are false, but they cannot all be true.

No possible future discovery is going to repair the core contradictions between religions. Rather, exploration complicates the issue. The more we discover about basic beliefs of various faiths, the more complex the problem of harmonizing becomes.

Appealing to the ubiquity of something like the “golden rule” is no help. It is a moral action guide that says almost nothing about any religion’s fundamental understanding of the shape of the world. Profound contradictions between foundational beliefs are not removed by pointing out shared moral proverbs. Contradictory claims cannot be simultaneously true. Religious pluralism self-destructs.

I guess someone could respond that from God’s perspective, the details don’t matter. He is satisfied with any sincere religious effort. But how would anyone know this? This claim is an article of faith, a leap of hope that turns out to be contrary to the teachings of many religions, especially Christianity.

Any informed Christian can immediately see the challenge religious pluralism presents for the Great Commission, the authority of Scripture, the uniqueness of Christ, etc. Clearly, those who follow Jesus and understand the New Testament teaching on the work of the cross—and also for those who take the first of the Ten Commandments in its plain and obvious sense—cannot make peace with pluralism no matter how politically incorrect it is to oppose it.—Greg Koukl3

Why the name of Jesus?

The Bible not only tells us that “God is a spirit” but also that “God is love.”4 God is the Spirit of love, the Great Spirit, the Creator. What is God like? He’s love. And what did God do to prove that He is love, that He loves us? “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”5 God gave “His only begotten Son,” Jesus. He was separated from Him and let Him suffer a cruel, horrible death for us, for our sakes. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”6 Jesus is the manifestation of the love of God.

“Why can’t you just leave Jesus out of it?” some people ask. “Why do you have to use that name? Why does He always have to be the symbol? Why can’t you just say God and speak of God only? We could accept it much easier if you wouldn’t insist on using the name of Jesus.”

If He really was God’s Son, and God had chosen Jesus to reveal Himself to the world and to show His love, then God Himself has insisted on it. “Love Me, love My Son.” These are God’s conditions, not ours. “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”7 God has insisted that we recognize and love His Son, and Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”8

Jesus made the way. He is the way! “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”9 There is only “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”10 And, “no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”11

No man can approach God directly. We have to go through Jesus, who said, “I and My Father are one.”12 Prior to His incarnation here on earth, He and the Father were together in personal heavenly fellowship, which He had to forsake while He was down here with us. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”13 We’re also told that “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”14

Jesus actually renounced the rights of His citizenship in heaven, and “though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”15 He adapted Himself to our bodily form and conformed to our human ways of life, so that He might understand and love us better, and communicate with us on the lowly level of our own human understanding. In a sense He became a citizen of this world, a member of humanity, a man of flesh, in all points like as we are, in order that He might reach us with His love, prove to us His compassion and concern, and help us understand His message in simple terms that we could understand.

“Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”16David Brandt Berg

Published on Anchor January 2019. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.

1 John 14:6.


3 Greg Koukl, The Ambassador’s Guide to Pluralism (Stand to Reason, 2010).

4 1 John 4:8.

5 John 3:16.

6 1 John 4:9.

7 1 John 2:23.

8 John 14:6.

9 Acts 4:12.

10 1 Timothy 2:5.

11 John 1:18.

12 John 10:30.

13 John 17:5.

14 John 1:1,14.

15 2 Corinthians 8:9.

16 Philippians 2:5–10.

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