A photo showing a representation of Jesus on a cross

Is Jesus the Only Way?

Posted by

Salvation is a matter we all must consider at some stage in our spiritual lives, and in this post I’d like to briefly present an alternative to the common Christian view that Jesus is the only way to have peace with God.

During times when I have been immersed in Christian life and enthusiastically proclaiming the gospel message, there has been an urgency to my endeavours owing to a passion for Jesus and a fear that everyone who isn’t saved is going to hell. This is the basis for Christian evangelism, and this is why Christian evangelists can often seem pushy. It’s because they genuinely feel they have an exclusive claim to truth, and that the only way to avoid eternal punishment is by becoming a believer.

But if God is the omnipresent creator of the universe, then He has created every religion, not just Christianity. He is the creator of millions of Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Sikhs and Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is also the creator of all those people who are atheists, or agnostics. He has created literally billions of people who have lived and died outside of the Christian faith. Can it really be the case that all of these lives, with all their richness and diversity, are meaningless, because they are empty of Jesus Christ?

An alternative view would be that creation is a rich tapestry in which every thread, or every person, has a distinct and meaningful role to play. Existence can be seen as a grand performance in which God is expressing His infinite power by creating great diversity. Everyone who has lived and died has played out their role in God’s grand game, and God will bring everything together in a coherent way in the future.

Some Christians argue that nonbelievers are judged ‘by the light they have received’, meaning that even if they haven’t heard the gospel, they are still morally culpable, as they have been exposed to good and evil and have had to choose accordingly. This is a way of accommodating all those outside of the faith into the Christian worldview.

But I wonder whether every life might be valuable to God in its own right, because if God is the sovereign creator, sustainer, and animator of all there is, then everyone’s life has unfolded in exactly the way God intended, even if they did not embrace Jesus as Lord and Saviour and live a Christian life.


The above article is a modified extract from my essay entitled An Almighty Predicament: A Discourse on the Arguments For and Against Christianity which is available in paperback and eBook formats (click here for details).

90 comments

  1. Hi Steven

    As you know, I believe that all humanity will be united with God, eventually.

    If there is an experience we would describe as “Hell”, I do not believe that it is for eternity, as some Christians do. Also, if I believed the scriptures that suggest Adam and Eve condemned us to sinfulness, I would have to believe that Christ, as part of the Trinity, has the salvific power to redeem us all. Some scriptural quotes below affirm some of my beliefs:

    When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself. Jn. 12.32

    The Father sent his Son as Saviour of the world. 1 Jn. 4.14

    If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully it is not I who shall condemn him since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world. Jn. 12.47

    Like you, I cannot accept that people who have no access to Christ because they live in an autocratic Theocracy that is not Christian can be excluded from eventual unification with God; not that we will become “Omni” in all His attributes but that He will reclaim His creatures as I believe His desire is to conserve His creatures and not to destroy them utterly. I believe also that creatures who have become extinct on this earth have been reclaimed by Him.

    There is an alternative view but that depends on the freedom to make choices. Below is a link to commentary on some OT scripture and I would like to know your views on it, God willing, if you please.

    http://reknew.org/2008/01/what-is-the-significance-of-deuteronomy-3019/

    Peace and love to all,

    Dinos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dinos,

      Many thanks for your comment, and for the link. I read the article, which presents an interesting perspective. Obviously you know my views pretty well, so you could probably predict how I would respond (i.e. we don’t have free will).

      I’m about to publish a post which elaborates further, although because you’ve been a reader of this blog for a long time (thank you!) you might be familiar with the gist of my arguments.

      God bless you and have a great week.

      Steven

      Like

      1. Thank you, Steven!

        I find your steadfastness in your belief that there is no free will endearing. I find myself swayed by arguments that offer some sort of compromise and I cannot fully settle with the notion that there is only God expressing Himself through everything.

        Peace and love to you,

        Dinos

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Dinos,

          In many ways I wish I could just embrace the Christian worldview in a simple way. But yeah, it’s an ongoing struggle.

          I really appreciate the fact that you genuinely search for answers to all of life’s important questions. May God bless you for your efforts!

          Peace and blessings,

          Steven

          Like

  2. Interesting article. I am a Christian and I’m going to go by what the Bible says about salvation. I sure don’t want to depend on my good works or thoughts to get me into heaven. As for those who have not had a chance to hear the Gospel message, I leave their salvation up to God who is infinitely wiser than me. I understand your reluctance to commit to the Christian religion, but committing to a relationship with Jesus is not the same. Christians are imperfect. That’s why they need a savior. Jesus is perfect; that’s why He is worthy of my love and devotion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Linda!

      Good to be connected and many thanks for your thoughtful comment. Having read through the Bible several times (and actually, I still read it every day) I have a pretty solid understanding of the Christian worldview, and also what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. However, if you explore my blog a little you’ll see that there are certain areas of Christian thought that I find very difficult to accept and believe. This article scratches the surface, but much more could be said. I do appreciate your passionate view though, it’s one I have held too, and I have often argued in a similar way. I very much understand where you’re coming from.

      Blessings,

      Steven

      Like

    2. Hi Linda!

      You are right to say, “….I leave their salvation up to God….” I would add that the salvation of all humanity is in God’s hands but it is difficult to imagine how God would exclude people from His Kingdom because of their ignorance of Christ. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how He might choose who to save among those who HAVE committed themselves to a relationship with Christ!

      My own view is that Christ has saved all humans (past, present and future) through His redeeming power, i.e. He represented humanity, was resurrected and later ascended to Heaven.

      Peace and love to all humanity,

      Dinos

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a concept called “Middle Knowledge” that you might be interested to look into. It makes human choice freer while God remains completely sovereign. It rules out quite the perspective you’re hypothesizing, while continuing to maintain that God made, loves, and intends good for everyone, though not everyone will choose Him and His revelation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jenn!

      Many thanks for your comment. I’ve come across the concept of Middle Knowledge via a Molinist with whom I was discussing free will. Unfortunately I found it to be a very confusing concept. I’m so grateful that the truth (in my understanding) is very simple – that God is in control of all activity in creation.

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Steven!

        I’d NEVER heard of Molinism before so this was particularly interesting to me. Below is an extract from gotquestions.org that seeks to explain what Molinism is –

        “Using middle knowledge, Molinism attempts to show that all of God’s knowledge is self-contained, but it is ordered so as to allow for the possibility of man’s free will. In other words, man is completely free, but God is also completely sovereign—He is absolutely in control of all that happens, and yet humanity’s choices are not coerced.”

        This explanation may accord with the views of some of your readers. Would you please explain where your view differs? I don’t want to assume I know the answer. My motto is, “Always check what’s checkable.”

        Peace and love to you and all your readers,

        Dinos

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Dinos!

          Glad you found the discussion interesting.

          I haven’t as yet been able to get my head around Molinism; the arguments seem to be very complex and theoretical and I found them very frustrating. But my response to your quote from GotQuestions would be that the idea of God’s sovereignty being compatible with free will doesn’t make sense. The statement “He is absolutely in control of what happens, and yet humanity’s choices are not coerced” makes no logical sense to me.

          If you do any further research into Molinism, keep me posted, because I’d like to understand the theology even if I don’t agree with it. If you find a simple and clear explanation anywhere, let me know!

          God bless,

          Steven

          Like

          1. Hi Steven!

            You were right – it is difficult to find a simple and clear explanation of Molinism. The info in the pdf link below, a review by Steven Cowan of the book, “Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach,” (authored by Kenneth Keithley) is the best I could do. It won’t persuade you to believe in Molinism but it may help you to understand the philosophy:

            Click to access cowan-review-of-salvation-and-sovereignty_a-molinist-approach-2010.pdf

            Peace and understanding to you,

            Dinos

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hi Steven!

              I was glad to be of some service to you. It did me good to search and find something on Molinism that didn’t over-use jargon to baffle the reader.

              Peace and blessings to you,

              Dinos

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Y’all use a bunch of big words and I think that’s cool and all but I’m about to speak much more simply. Haha 🙂
    I believe that God truly loves every person. He did create them after all. I also believe that He wants everyone to be saved, but because of free will He knows there will be people who refuse. But He sent Jesus to die for our sins in our place because we will never be able to live up to God’s expectations. We all fall short. Anyways, Jesus loves you! God bless ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chelsey!

      I liked your post a lot.

      I agree with you that God loves us all and wants to save us all. I don’t think we have a choice of not being saved because it is God’s Will that we all be saved. That’s why He sent His Son – to save us all. There are many references in the Bible. Here is just one of them –

      1 John 4:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

      How likely is it that God’s Son was unable to achieve the salvation of all humanity?

      Peace and love to you and all humanity,

      Dinos

      Like

  5. Great thoughts. Thanks for being willing to openly share your journey and your thoughts. Many of are working through the same questions, discarding some of the “traditional” institutional answers and being willing to put all possible answers on the table for discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ALL life matters to God! He could have created us to love him unconditionally, however, he created us with the free will to choose. He wants us to choose to love him, just like as a parent we want our children to choose to love us, rather than parents “make” them love them. Yes, God created us in spite of the mistakes that he knew we would make. People choosing Christ versus not choosing Christ is similar to putting everyone created in a super hot room, it is so hot that their clothes are soaked through with sweat. You enter with an ice cold Coca-Cola and everyone declines. The Holy Spirit returns inviting them out into the hallway and some followed him into the hallway. In the hallway the cokes were offered again and they accepted it. That is how we imperfect people are, we choose to accept the perfect gift of salvation or not. It is our choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bamabreze!

      Many thanks for your comment, and for the Coca-Cola analogy 🙂 Actually, I don’t believe we do have free will, as God is in control of His creation. But you’re strong in your convictions so I may not be able to persuade you of that.

      But I’ll just leave you with a thought. When you pray to God, do you not do so knowing that He is in control of your life? For instance, you might ask Him to bless your job, or your health, or your marriage. Why pray if everything you do is done by your own will, and not God’s will?

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jesus himself said, “In my father’s house are many mansions.” (John 14:2, 3) He wants all of his children to be saved. As you said, he made all of his creations to express his life. He is not a one-sided person. Just like the finest diamond has many facets, so does he have unlimited numbers of beautiful qualities that would describe him. Of course, most people on this earth are not really manifesting God very much these days, but it is his desire that they all be with him one day. I believe that Christianity is the highest way to know God because Jesus came as a man to show us an example of how to live. We can take his words and express them in our lives no matter what age we live in. We can use his principles to live a life closer to God. There is no limit to how close we can get to our father. Many other religions were begun by a man who had a revelation. Those revelations were good, but limited. Jesus came as God in the flesh, without limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting post for sure. These issues seem to fall away if you take away God controlling every single thing in the world He created. I think He can do anything but he leaves much up to us here on Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Matt. I agree that it’s a really central question whether, and to what extent, God is in control of our lives and circumstances.

      Like

Comments are closed.