Many Muslims and Jews (and even some Christians) claim that all three monotheistic Abrahamic faiths worship the same God. But do Christians really worship the same God as the Jews, or the same God as the Muslims? Simply put, no, we do not. But why?
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Who is God?
While Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are monotheistic religions asserting there is only one God, they disagree about who God is. Therefore, if who God is, is not consistent among the three systems, those systems cannot possibly worship the same God. The same could also be said within the umbrella of Christianity itself; the theology of the Roman Catholic and many Protestant churches paint the picture of a different God than the one known and loved in the authentic living Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
Read More: Teachings of the Orthodox Church
In the Orthodox Christian Church, we worship the One True God, who revealed Himself to His people. The God of Orthodoxy is at once altogether separate and different, yet at the same time uniquely close to each one of us. Perhaps the key differentiator between the God of Christianity and that of modern Judaism and Islam is the complete lack of Trinitarian theology in the latter two belief systems.
God is One in Trinity
Orthodox Christians worship a single God who is at once one and three: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is three distinct divine persons (hypostases), who share one divine essence, dwelling in each other by virtue of an unceasing movement of mutual love. The persons of the Trinity are uncreated, immaterial and eternal. Moreover, the Trinity has one will; they do not act separately, though each may act in a different manner (i.e. we experience them differently). We can experience the Trinity in the life of the Church, through the Holy Sacraments. And when we encounter any one of the three, we experience contact with the One True God.
The Father is the eternal source of the Godhead and the bond of unity between the three. The Son is begotten eternally from Him, fully God and fully man, and is our “bridge” to God via the Incarnation. Finally, the Holy Spirit, the “wind” or “breath” of God, proceeds eternally from the Father.
Modern Judaism and Islam reject the dogma of the Holy Trinity, and thus believe in a unitary God. Additionally, neither Jews nor Muslims believe God became incarnate. Therefore, neither accepts Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Son of God, or God.
God became incarnate
Only Christianity asserts that God eternal became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. This man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who lived a sinless life, endured crucifixion and death, and rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.
Christianity alone claims this creed. While Judaism claims to accept the identity of the One True God, they deny that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, or that He is the Son of God and God. Similarly, while Muslims accept Christ as a great prophet and as the coming Messiah (al-Masih), they do not accept Him as Son of God or God. The very idea of anyone or anything participating in divine life or being is blasphemous in Islam. As such, the radical monotheism of Islam leaves no place for Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who share the same divine nature while existing as three distinct and unconfused Persons. Persons who dwell in an eternal communion of love that overflows the limits of divine life, to embrace the whole of humankind.
Since one cannot know God the Father except through God the Son Jesus Christ (John 14:6), it is impossible for the unitary gods of Judaism and Islam to be one and the same as Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.
We do not worship the same God
The Triune God is both Creator and Redeemer. He is incarnate Love, present in the world and revealing Himself to us through acts of love and authentic martyrdom. This God teaches us by example to turn the other cheek, love our enemies, honor and defend widows and children, feed the poor, and heal the sick. This God calls us, through ascetic struggle, repentance, prayer and charity, to eternal communion in the Kingdom of His beloved Son. By suffering and dying, then rising from the depths of hell and ascending into heaven, He lifts us up out of our own death and gives us a share in His transcendent life. He loves us, redeems us, and saves us, providing for us joy and blessedness in everlasting communion with Himself.
When we worship this God, the God of Christ, who sacrificed Himself to save us, we reject all other gods.
Keep Reading: Who Exactly Is Jesus Christ?