How Does God Differ from Man-Made Gods?

Human-made gods are usually fashioned in the image of man. They are petty, selfish, cruel, and capricious. They behave as human-made gods, with the same sins and jealousies found in the human heart.

Dave Jenkins
Potter and clay

Some people answer the question, “How does God differ from man-made gods?” with the idea that God Himself is a creation of man. These people claim that the idea of a God or gods is how human beings explain things that are too difficult for them to understand.

Some people even believe that a belief in the supernatural ignores science and embraces superstition. Scripture emphasizes not that God is a creation of man, but that man is a creation of God (Genesis 1-2).

Even skeptics believe that there is a beginning for every created being, including man. For man to have a beginning, there must be a first cause that existed before man.

Evolutionists conclude that the first cause is an impersonal force, a big bang they say that started the universe. This explanation leaves a lot unexplained, along with leaving one with a lot of questions.

God Has Always Existed

Scripture starts not with a proof for God, but that God is and He exists. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God.” The Bible’s answer is the most logical explanation for the first cause.

God was always in the beginning. The Lord was not created and needed no first cause. The Lord has always been and always will be.

He exists apart from time and space (Psalm 90:2). The Lord introduced Himself to Moses as I AM (Exodus 3:14). The name of God signifies His eternal nature. The Lord always was and always will be the Eternal, Self-existent One (Revelation 1:8; 4:8).

The Lord has Revealed Himself Through His Word

Many attributes of God are not those that human beings would include if they invented Him. The character of God includes the following:

The Lord desires to have a relationship with man (Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8).

The Lord is perfectly just, and that justice requires payment for man’s high treason against his Creator in the death of Jesus (Zephaniah 3:5; Romans 6:23).

Rather than focusing on how we need to earn God’s favor through merit like other religions, Jesus fully God and fully man took on human flesh and lived among humanity. He allowed the people He created to kill Him while He forgave them (Luke 23:34; Philippians 2:5-11).

God’s selfless, sacrificial love is outside of human experience and does not exist in any human-made religion. Grace then is an exclusive idea to the God of the Bible.

Human-made gods are fashioned in the image of man. For example, the gods of pagan cultures are full of flaws, inconsistencies, and human-like weakness. They are also cruel, capricious, petty, and selfish.

These human-made gods behave as man does with the same sins and jealousy found in the human heart. For God to be human-made, the nature of God could extend only as far as man’s imagination.

The God of the Bible surpasses the understanding of man and leaves a trail of spiritual breadcrumbs in His Word for people to know Him and love Him.

Human-made gods are usually fashioned in the image of man. The gods of pagan cultures are fraught with flaws, inconsistencies, and human-like weaknesses. They are petty, selfish, cruel, and capricious. They behave as human-made gods, with the same sins and jealousies found in the human heart.

For God to be human-made, His nature could only extend as far as man’s imagination. The God of the Bible far surpasses our understanding, yet He leaves hints, like a trail of spiritual breadcrumbs, for us to follow as we come to know Him better in His Word.

The Spiritual Quality of the Human Sin

Every human being is unique and possesses an innate sense of themselves. Every human being has an inborn understanding of the eternal (Ecclesiastes 3:11) because they know there is more beyond the world we inhabit.

Genesis 1:27 teaches that every human being is made in the image of God. Colossians 1:16 says that humanity was created for the purpose and pleasure of God.

The Lord created humanity, but the Lord is not like man (Numbers 23:19). What that last point highlights is that if God were merely a human fabrication, then many new questions would arise, such as these two:

1. What makes human beings different from animals?

2. Where do humans get the ideas of justice, benevolence, self-sacrifice, and love — abstract qualities not found in the animal kingdom?

Such traits, found in every culture in the world, would never have survived the evolutionary process. However, when we see those traits showcased within the character of God Himself, we understand why we possess them.

The Trustworthiness of the Bible

Ultimately the idea that God is human-made fails because it questions the trustworthiness of Scripture itself. To contend God doesn’t exist, one must deal with the scriptures.

In Scripture, the Lord has revealed Himself to humanity. In Scripture, we discover hundreds of examples of the Lord’s dealing with people throughout the centuries.

Those who advocate that God is human-made are the same people who claim that the Bible is a book full of fairy tales and myths, while they know nothing about the Bible itself. The onus of proof is on those who claim that the Bible is a book of fairy tales and myths.

It is not for Christians to prove, although we can and should make arguments to substantiate the Bible’s trustworthiness. The onus of proof is on those who deny God and deny the revelation He has given.

Further, these types of statements ultimately demonstrate a flawed foundation and line of argumentation upon which they’ve built their arguments.

Scripture is a collection of books written by over 40 authors, over a 1,500-year time frame, from three continents, and in three different languages.

Scripture weaves together the pieces of a single story like a jigsaw puzzle fits together. Scripture is God’s story of His relentless pursuit to redeem His fallen creation.

Those who believe that God is human-made must also consider the manner in which Scripture presents humanity, including the Jews. If the Jews wrote the scriptures to honor themselves, they failed miserably.

The Lord Himself is crystal clear that He chose the Israelites for His reasons, not because they were deserving of special treatment (Deuteronomy 7:7). The failures of the Israelites are showcased again and again, right up to the crucifixion of Jesus (Isaiah 65:2; Mark 15:9-15).

Humanity is portrayed in Scripture realistically, complete with sin, rebellion, and punishment. No group or individual is exalted above another, which raises the question, “If man fabricated God, then what was his motive?”

Throughout the Old and New Testament, the only hero is the Lord. Rather than pave the way for personal gain, Scripture teaches self-sacrifice and surrender to the Lord. Rather than teaching man to earn the favor of God, Scripture focuses on how no one is righteous (Romans 3:10, 22).

Throughout history, those proclaiming the Bible’s teaching have been martyred, stoned, and driven into hiding (1 Kings 19:10; Acts 7:58; 2 Corinthians 11:25).

God Exists

If God is human-made, then there is no god, and the biggest question left unanswered relates to the complexity and design of the universe. A single strand of DNA shows brilliance that random chance cannot come close to explaining.

Billions of perfectly synchronized atoms, systems, and the universe shout the idea that there is a Designer. Removing God from the realm of potential explanations gives rise to many unanswerable questions resulting in no other explanation.

Sure, theories abound, but none of them can claim scientific evidence from the startling harmonization of the universe’s complexity. Even Charles Darwin (The Origin of Species) had to concede,

To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.

Removing God from the equation without replacing Him with a more reasonable explanation is not a tenable answer. Questions do not disappear by eliminating the possibility of God.

When we remove the prejudices and presuppositions that refuse to allow the Lord to be considered, He remains the only logical explanation for the world around humanity.

Those who have decided that God cannot exists build their worldview around that idea and pretend that their answers fill in the blanks. Denial of God is a strong religious assumption that taints their search for truth.

Yet, those who genuinely desire to be open-minded and pursue the truth wherever it leads find evidence that always leads to God who created, sustains, and governs the world we inhabit for His glory.

For further reading:

Why Does it Have to Be Creation or Evolution?

Has Science Removed the Need for God?

What Is the Omnipotence of God? Definition and Bible Meaning

How Are We Created in the Image of God?

What Does it Mean That Jesus Is the Alpha and Omega?

What Is a Graven Image?

Is the Bible a Fairy Tale?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/YakubovAlim

Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOGInstagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.

Originally published January 07, 2021.