The Hindu doctrine of salvation evaluated in the light of Reformed theology
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Hindu gods are impersonal while God in Christianity is personal. Furthermore, these Hindu gods are not in agreement with one another while the triune God of Christianity is: - as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They act and function together for the salvation of sinners. In the Reformed theology, they are presented beautifully in regard to the salvation of mankind: - the Father, the Son as Fulfiller, and Holy Spirit as Applier. The three ways to obtain salvation in Hinduism are: the way of Karma, the way of knowledge, the way of devotion. Salvation in Hinduism is defined as the state of freedom from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). The soul is in bondage because of ignorance, and due to this ignorance, the soul is attached to this world. Its original place is in the spiritual realm that is Brahma. It must return to its original place, and this is the goal of every individual. Such a state is called the union with Brahma. The first way for Hindus try to reach Brahma through their own work and deeds. However, the salvation doctrine of the Reformed theology describes our total inability to save ourselves since human beings are dead in sin and thus alienated from their creator. Consequently, they are unable to do anything that can bring them close to God. God has to convert such sinners so that they may repent of their sin and have faith in God for their salvation. God justifies them and declares them righteous through His grace. God reconciles such a sinner with Himself. That is when he becomes one with God and he can do good works out of gratitude towards God and his neighbour. The second way for Hindus to obtain salvation or union with Brahma is through the Knowledge of God and ourselves. However, in Reformed theology, knowledge of God is only possible through the special revelation given by God to mankind where God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. However, our heart is deceitful and our mind is corrupted by nature so that we do not understand and perceive the things of God. God has to renew our hearts and mind to believe this revelation to be true. The Bible proclaims that the Christ is the true revelation of God: through Him we can know God, apart from Him it is impossible to know God and ourselves. Finally, the Third way of salvation in Hinduism is the way of devotion. It has been also called loving devotion to God. It in entails the human effort to please God by loving Him. It is however meaningless to talk about loving God through devotion when one doesn’t realize that a person cannot love God out of his own will, for since the Fall, man remains under the curse of sin. Man is unable to love God or to do anything that merits salvation. In fact, man is not by nature a lover of God but rather a hater of God; the Bible describes him as an enemy of God. Our loving God has to love a human- beings first before the human being can love God. God has expressed His love by sending His only begotten Son to die for mankind in order to make man one with God. Therefore, the salvation of mankind is not in the hands of man but in the hands of God. During evangelization of the Hindu it must be kept in mind that the concept of the grace of God must be the priority in the sharing in the gospel.
- Theology