I typed Oldest Religion into my search engine and pressed the ‘enter’ key. What was reported back to me was that the world’s oldest religion that was still being practiced today is Hinduism, which has it’s first reported records of religious practice coming out of Egypt around 4000 BC.
Not buying it!
I dispute this because as a Christian I believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God and there is specific evidence in the Scripture that indicates that even when considering religions that are not being practiced today that Christianity transcends those timelines with a clear claim to being the ‘oldest religion’.
The premise on which I state the above is based on the origin of any particular faith. Ie: One would rightly consider that the beginning of any such faith would be contingent of it’s founding principle. For instance:
- Islam – Is dependent on the prophet Muhammad.
- Buddhism – Is dependent on Buddha.
So with Christianity we cover the three largest religions of the world. Now I’m sure the thought that is forming in my mind based on this information is something on the order of ‘But Christ was born at the division of time between BC and AD (which is another discussion by itself as secularism is trying to negate the birth of Christ as the milestone by which that division exists.).
However, the problem with this is that Jesus Christ the Son of God existed prior to His physical birth in Bethlehem. As a matter of fact He existed prior to the formation of the universe and everything in it, including us.
Read closely the following passage:
John 1:1-5 (CSB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
Skipping forward a few verses…
John 1:14-17 (CSB)
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ ”) Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
I know if you’ve been reading my blog postings for a while that I cover the first chapter of John fairly often but I do this because it is critical to understand just who Jesus Christ is, as well as, his relationship to God the Father. From these two segments of scripture tell us a few very important things to consider:
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God therefore he is…
- Jesus Christ, God the Son.
- Jesus Christ was with God the Father prior to the creation of the earth moon and stars; yes mankind as well.
- Jesus Christ was in fact the creator of the universe and all that is in it.
Based on further study of what the Bible tells us about God the Father vs God the Son (Jesus), I can with a great deal of confidence state the following:
- God the Fathers interaction with the things of this world has been limited since this world has been created.
- The Earth and everything on it was created by Jesus Christ the Son of God, therefore…
- Jesus Christ was extremely likely to have been the persona of God that is referred to in the scriptures.
- The exception to this would be those references where God is speaking with the Satan who is a fallen angel who may have been created by God the Father or God the Son (to date I have yet to find anything that would persuade me either way).
- In all cases, where the Bible refers to interaction between God and Satan, the reference to God could possibly be either God the Father or God the Son.
Therefore, based on this beginning with the first man and woman on earth (Adam and Eve) their interaction was with Jesus Christ. The ‘God’ that they followed was in fact, God the Son.
And what is a Christian? A follower of Jesus Christ.
Opening Up The Scope Of Christ’s Dominion
In either the case of the God the Son or God the Father, the human tendency is to try and define God by our terms and our limitations. We have a difficult time being creatures bound by space and time to understand a God who doesn’t have those encumbrances to deal with.
God (in any manifestation) is not restricted by our boundaries of space and time. God exists in all times and all spaces at the same time. This is but one example of where we place limits on God that simply are not congruent with His nature.
In the case of God the Son (Jesus Christ) the first sign of this is his role in creation (1st chapter of the gospel of John).
Next we try to limit his power.
Mark 10:27 (CSB)
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”
Remember ‘The Word was God’ back in John 1:1? What is Jesus capable of? ‘All things’; that is to say ‘anything’ is in His power.
We try to limit his ability to hear us.
1 John 5:14 (CSB)
This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
It seems that His ability to ‘hear’ is not in question. Rather, it is our ability to be heard. He always does hear us when we ask in accordance to his will.
Going on, we know He isn’t limited in Love, justice, Holiness, or any of the attributes that make up His nature. The only limits that Jesus Christ has are the ones that we impose on him through our lack of love, faith and trust.
John 15:9-11 (CSB)
“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
“I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
Now Let Me Reconsider
As I wind this down, now that I think I’ve stated my case for Christianity being recognized as the ‘oldest religion’, I think I would like to back track a bit.
Perhaps the reason Christianity is the oldest religion stems from the fact that is not a ‘religion’; it is rather a ‘relationship’.
Christianity has the distinction of being the only religious model in which God is pursuing us rather than we are pursuing what is perceived to be God.
God being unbound from space and time. Knows today the exact same thing that He understood prior to creating the world and mankind. He also knows, the course the remainder of our lives will take. He in fact knows this for every living thing; now and forever.
Knowing all that, His love for us was so profound that He still created us for one reason; He loves us. He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.
John 3:16-18 (CSB)
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
He knew when he crated us, that he would have to go to extraordinary measures to redeem His creation. Yet he did so.
Romans 8:14-15 (CSB)
For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father! ”
Adoption into God’s family. Son’s and Daughter’s all. That’s what God had in mind from the beginning. One loving nurturing family Headed up by God the Father, made possible by our brother God the Son.
It really doesn’t matter what the oldest religion is on the planet. The fact is, God wants a relationship with us. He seeks us out. Calls to us.
Revelation 3:20 (CSB)
See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
If ‘anyone’ hears my voice (the voice of Jesus Christ), and will open the door, He will come in and commune together with them.
If you have this relationship, nurture it. Make it ever stronger though your investment in His promises and Love.
If you don’t, you can and you should. He’s knocking. He wants you to invite Him in. He wants a relationship with you.
He has from before time began!