When I was younger, I had this unconscious belief that there was one and only one God, that YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was the only true God, and therefore the sole God. The rest (the idols that the Israelites worshipped, the gods of false religions, etc) were silly or stupid fakes made by confused people. This was the idea I had of different religions, and other "gods".
In some ways, I was right, and in some ways I was wrong, though as a child I am not sure that my understanding of various religions could have traveled much further.
I have come to realize that the earth is filled with gods we have created by our worship—millions of them exist. Some are inanimate objects, some are people, some are ideas or values that we hold to be important above all else. In Romans 1, Paul says, " For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:21-25) That "they" that he is talking about, that's us! All people! We are incredibly prone to exchange the worship of the glorious God for the worship of his creation. By our worship, we give these gods power over our lives, and though we may think we are controlling them, they control us. They dictate our lives, and they consume us. We build our lives around them, on them, like the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27).
In the end though, all of these gods will pass away and we will stand, stripped of all earthly trappings, before the uncreated God. The God who is Creator of all things.
He is the only uncreated God. He is the only eternal God. All of the other gods, I have realized, will cease to be at some point. But Adonai is God and he will be God, whether we worship him or not. Were heaven and earth and all things to pass away, He would remain. In this sense, he is the one true God.
This then, is the problem, I think, with much of the casual philosophy of our culture. "Accept God as your Lord and Savior," can almost diminish YHWH to the level of the other gods that we run to. He is presented as Savior —which he is without a doubt. We must be wary, however, of presenting him on the same level as the one thousand other saviors our culture offers. We are offered "self-esteem" to fix our confidence issues. Accept it, it'll fix you (supposedly). We are offered people to fix our loneliness. Become like them, spend your time with them, that will fix your loneliness (hopefully). Tired? Here's coffee, or an energy drink. That'll fix your tiredness. Is your life without meaning? Accept this job offer. It will give you purpose (maybe. At least it will fill your life).
But God is different. He is the Lord and Savior and will be Lord and Redeemer and Judge whether you or I accept it or not. (That's probably one of the least politically correct statements you can make.) He will adopt you as a daughter or son, he will be your friend in times of need, your refuge in times of trouble, he will put his own Spirit inside of you and grow you up in the image of his Son if you will give your life to him. He is the only God who can truly save, who has authority over all things. It is so humbling to realise that God did not become God when I became a follower of Jesus, nor would he have ceased to be God if I had rejected him. He was God before I was born and will be God after I die. He is, and was, and is to come. May we be found in Him.
"O YHWH of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth." (Isaiah 37:16)