A friend of mine is a pastor-in-the-making who is interning at a church and exploring all the questions of ministry that pastors-in-the-making get. Recently he told me that someone had suggested that ancient cultures had invented gods, and Christianity was just one more invention. That seems to me a shallow and unnuanced take, and I think reality is a little more complex. It seems that if God had created us for himself, we would naturally be inclined to seek him out. After all, all creation points towards him (Psalm 19), and his existence is so clear that we are “without excuse” for not believing (Romans 1:20). He is actually not far from any one of us (Acts 17:27), and he rewards our seeking (Matthew 7:7). So given that we’ve been built with a GPS that points us back to him, it seems that a host of ancient gods would not be disproof of Christianity, but rather proof all the more. If we’re made for God, it makes sense that we would reach out for him and try to grasp him, and where we can’t find him, we would make up substitutes. The ancient pantheons are not grounds for dismissal of Christianity. They’re only the groundwork for true revelation. The fact that we guessed repeatedly and sometimes close doesn’t mean that Christianity’s similarities to other religions prove it false, only that Christianity in fact satisfies our deepest longings and proves to be the the bullseye around which we had been misfiring. Ancient religions were simply set-up to the real thing and proof that we were hardwired for the God who would soon reveal himself to us.
These are the kind of speculations captured in Hardwired: Finding the God You Already Know.