What is the origin of religion?

The reason humans have always asked why they exist, where they came from, and what their purpose is comes down to this: humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Also God "has put eternity into man's heart" (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

As people try to answer these questions, they create ways to connect with their Creator—religions. Romans tells us that some basic ideas about God are clearly understandable to everyone: "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made …" (Romans 1:19–20).

However, rather than expecting people to reach out to Him, God initiated a relationship with the people of His creation from the beginning. Adam and Eve walked with God (Genesis 3). Their children brought sacrifices to God (Genesis 4:3–4). Their grandchildren called on God in worship (Genesis 4:26). Genesis describes for us the first religion.

Throughout all of history, God has initiated relationship with people (See Noah, Moses, David, Abraham—and so many others). He established relationships, too, with entire groups of people (Israel), and initiated relationship with all people by sending His Son Jesus (John 3:16–18).

Research shows anthropologically that the first religions were ones which identified and worshipped one god. Later, people created belief systems that incorporated several gods. This is consistent with biblical accounts, including the tower of Babel where people disobeyed God and created a giant tower in an attempt to reach the heavens. God infused several languages into the group of people there and they scattered geographically (Genesis 11). Many polytheistic religions began at that time (About 2000 BC).

Christianity, and before that the Jewish religion from which it grew, is the only system of belief in history that does not require people to earn or work toward a relationship with God. God initiates and does the work to bridge the gap between a Holy Creator and a sinful creation in Christianity only. Behavioral and moral decisions are made by believers as a result of God's proactive pursuit, not to instigate it.

God created the first and only true religion, and it has survived and continually grown because of its truth, the truth of the inspired Word of God (the Bible), and the testimony of those who witness a transformation of their lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Related Truth:

Why are there so many religions?

What are the major world religions in existence today?

There are so many different religions; how do I know which one is right?

What religion is the oldest?

Is there a difference between religion and spirituality?

Return to:
Truth about Religion

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is part of Got Questions Ministries

For answers to your Bible questions, please visit