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Nicholas Carter wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a firm believer in God, was raised Roman Catholic, and still am one. I was also raised outside in Nature. Nature is very close to my heart and soul. It is easy for me to go on a walk and think about everything, talk to myself in my head, etc.

I've always had the question but have never shared it with others. I know that God is all around us. I know He created the Heavens and the Earth. I know he created Nature and all living things. There are theorists that state that the Cherokee religion, which believes in the Great Spirit, was the closest to Christianity.

  • This all being true, with God having created us in His image, how, figuratively, close is God and the Great Spirit?
  • Would they be considered the same person, under a different religion?

Thank you,

Nicholas

  { How close is God with the Great Spirit from the Cherokee religion and are they comparable? }

Paul replied:

Nick,

I would have to study up on the Cherokee notion of the great spirit to give this an adequate answer.

We know by the first law of logic, the law of non-contradiction, that two things or ideas cannot be essentially contradictory and be the same.

  • We share the belief that there is (only) one God with Jews and Muslims.

  • We differ in that this one God is three Divine Persons.
  • We also differ in the belief that the Second Divine Person took on a human nature and became man.
  • We differ too in what this Christ did for us in His sacrifice on the Cross and what He left us in the Sacraments, Word, and Authority of the Magisterium — for the sake of our salvation.
  • We differ in the belief that the Third Person of God, won for us by Christ, was sent to the world to dwell within the faithful, sanctifying them with divine light and life.
  • And there are many other things we differ on with other monotheistic faiths while remaining in agreement that God is One, infinite, and eternal.

So the question becomes whether this the great spirit can be seen as:

  • a misunderstanding of the one true God Christians believe in, or
  • an essentially different idea of divinity.

My colleagues may have a good answer to that question.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

Nicholas,

I don't know much about Cherokee theology, but I would guess that their concept of God is more simplistic and nature based, perhaps more pantheistic than transcendent, but in any case, it certainly could be a good launch pad for a discussion about the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ who is the fullness of Revelation.

C.S. Lewis pointed to the many seeds of truth in other religions that point to the revelation of God in Christ, so perhaps they were headed in the right direction.

I would do some research to see if there were missionaries who worked in missions to the Cherokee who could shed some light on how bridges were formed. Perhaps some notable missionary wrote some work about this.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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