“I caught the biggest fish in the whole world. Biggest, that is, for me.”
If our God is one among many in a genealogy of gods, then imagine for a moment going to heaven, or, ugh, the planet near Kolob, and attending a cosmic family reunion. You are suddenly in the presence of thousands of spirit-uncles, spirit-descendents, and spirit-ancestors. You look at your particular “Heavenly Father” as he sits alongside Heavenly Grandfather, and Heavenly Great-Grandfather, and you say, “You’re the best, the most high, and the only god… FOR ME.”
Well, isn’t that nice. Why don’t you just pat him on the head, and tell him that his home-cooking in the best-est in the whole multi-verse?
Meanwhile, he tells his cosmic dad (your Heavenly Grandfather) that *his* home-cooking is the best-est in the whole multi-verse. And all those divine superlatives are reduced patronizing hyperbole.
“Best” is reduced to “better than us/me, but not better than all.”
“Highest” is reduced to “higher than us/me, but not higher than all.”
“Most” is reduced to “more than us/me, but not more than all.”
Saying that God is the best, the first, the only, or the most… “to me”, is taking something that is meant to be God-centered and making it man-centered. Man is not the chief reference point for God’s greatness. His greatness is a greatness had before any comparative reference point outside of himself ever existed.
God did not first learn of how supreme and great he was when he finally was able to compare himself to you. And if humanity ceased to exist, God would not suddenly lack a basis to claim to be the Most High.
Christians who want to retire the “my God is bigger than your god” aspect of evangelizing those of false religions are abandoning a Biblical tradition that started in the very first chapter of Genesis.
The Genesis creation account – a polemic against deities who needed to cooperate with each other or even engage in conflict or a copulative act to bring about the cosmos. Yahweh singularly just says, “Let there be”, and it happens. And all this because God is the victorious sea-serpent-slayer (cf. Psalm 74:13-15).
Exodus – a story that contains a polemic against the false gods of the Egyptians, outstripping their supernatural powers with dramatic plagues and curses. After drowning Pharaoh and his army, Moses sings, “The LORD is a man of war; the Lord is his name.” (Exodus 15:3) If Yahweh’s angel-armies had dropped bombs on Pharaoh, that is the inscription they were painted with.
1 Kings – Elijah enthusiastically watches as Yahweh flexes his muscles and humiliates the priests of Baal and Asherah.
Isaiah (see especially ch. 40-48) – God calls all of the witnesses of the gods of the nations to present their case in a dramatic courtroom setting, and declares his supremacy over them, since he alone declares the past and the future, and he alone is Most High. He is the first and the last. He knows of none other. “Show me what you got. I got more.”
God loves a good fight, a good battle, a big war. He is the Lord of angel-armies. He has ordained redemptive history to happen alongside a massive cosmic war between good and evil. He ascends on high and shows off the spoils of his victory. Jesus comes to “bind up the strong man” (Mark 3:27) and declare judgment and victory over Satan and his demons and take what is rightfully his. Christians boast in the dominion of Christ over all things, including “thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.” (Colossians 1:16)
God himself and his people boast and brag of his supremacy over all gods. “For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” (Psalm 97:9) As I tell my son, God can win all the races, win all the arm wrestling matches, win all the battles. He is the best, the first, and the most.
So yes, my God is bigger and better than the gods of the nations, the gods of the false religions, the gods of man’s imagination. And if evangelism has anything to do with teaching people the overall message of the Bible, it seems like the supremacy and primacy and preeminence of Yahweh should be a part of my message.
Christians who want to abandon the “my God is bigger than your god” aspect of evangelism are robbing themselves of a pleasure. It is an awesome joy to proclaim the supremacy of God in *all* things.
My God can beat the tar out of your god.