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Post Info TOPIC: Naming the god and the theological fight, but it is only linguistic!


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Naming the god and the theological fight, but it is only linguistic!
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Naming the god and the theological fight, but is linguistic!

July 22, 2009

Vedaprakash

In the “Year of Darwin”[1], as scientists have started discussing about the evolution of man, language etc., ordinary man has also started thinking in the same lines about the connected factors, as they are more concerned about them than the professors, experts and others, who conduct “conferences” inside air-conditioned halls with all facilities[2], whereas, they have to worry about Dhal selling at Rs. 100/ kg, rice Rs.100 / kg and so on. The Dhal and rice families never fool man, but the man fool man by his skill of economics, statistics, inflation, negative-inflation[3], but still prices going up!  So also, our Sanskrit imported Professors[4] start talking about “phylogeny vs epigenesist”, “origin of language” etc. in India!

The evolution and / or creation of man are connected with the concept of god and naming the god. Evolution might oppose god, but still “god” is denied there, however, without naming. Naming god as per the existing literature or the so-called “revealed books” of the “chosen” people[5] with such “books” (al-kithabiya) has been semantics coupled with theological syntax.

Man started pronouncing or rather naming the god as follows, according to his “sound” producing capabilities:

  • El-eli-ela-elah-elahi-elohim-
  • El-elah-elohim-elahi-allah
  • l-la-lah-lahi-laha [when this is combined with al-lah, it becomes allaha]
  • ha-aha-aya-hayah-yhwh [here, “l” sound is avoided]
  • m-am-um-iam [without opening mouth]-om-ohm [opening mouth][6]

YHWH and ALM: Scholars, theologians and other experts confess that they do not know how these two words or expressions have come, how to pronounce or what is the meaning. As for as ALM is concerned, Quranic experts claim that many ayats start with ALM implying Alif-lam-mim[7], but none knows its meaning. Thus, many claims are made by the biblical and quaranic scholars and pundits. The first name that God told Moses about was Hayah and it is a Hebrew word meaning I AM. The second name that God told Moses about was YHWHand it is also a Hebrew word for which only four consonants are used without any vowels. Thus, god only knows what YHWH means, or how is has to be pronounced.

Lord, LORD, God, GOD, LORD-GOD: However, the King James Version translates YHWH as “LORD” — all in capital letters and the practice of representing YHWH by “LORD” is done in many translations, including but not limited to the KJV, NKJV, NIV, and NAS[8]. Thus, LORD represents God’s name, YHWH, whereas “Lord” represents God’s,adonay. As they have difficulty or do not know how to translate, they may still translate “adonay YHWH” as “the Lord LORD,” Elohim is translated as God / god which means “mighty ones.” They know El (God in Hebrew), Eli (Singular), Elohim (Plural), Eloi (Aramic), Ilahi, elahi etc., denote only GOD, but mentioned as differently in the context.

The word used

Meaning

How many times appears

example

“EL”Mighty One

225

Gen. 14:20, “Blessed be the Most High EL”.
“YHVH”GOD’s Personal Name, not to be pronounced or not known

248

Is. 40:10,   “The Lord YHVH will come with a strong hand.”
“Tzur”A Rock

1

lsa. 44:8, “Yes, there is no Tzur,   I know not any.”.
“Elah”An object of Worship[9]

88

Ezra 5:11, “We are the servants of Elah of heaven”.
“Elohim”Object of Worship

2222

Plural used  in Hebrew to denote plenitude of might
.  “EL”Mighty One

225

. Gen. 14:20, “Blessed be the Most High EL”. Gen. 1:1,   “In the beginning Elohim created.”
“Eloah”An object of Worship

55

Deut. 32:17,  “They sacrificed unto devils, not to Eloah”.
“Theos”Object of Worship (in Greek)

1274

Matt. 1:23,  “They will call Him (the Messiah)  Emmanuel,  a Name which means ‘Theos is with us’ “.

God, existence of God, God knowing other God: In Bible, the following are quoted as the word of God (Exodus: 20:2-5):

  • I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
  • Do not have any other gods before me.
  • You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  • You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

Thus, the doubt of God thinking about, warning about other God is intriguing and interesting to note [Ontogeny]. If one God is the God, then, that God cannot think of another God existing on the earth and that earth too, in fact creation of that God only. Therefore, where is the question of anything existing below the earth or above in the heaven? Thus, one God talking about the exigencies of existence of other Gods proves that that God knew the existence of other Gods and therefore, he was “jealous God” as declared himself!

Ontogenesis, phylogenesis and epigenesis of God: Thus, it is quite evident that the scriptures mentioned or the literature of the people mentioned talk about the existence of more than one God in the sense, that the “jealous God” is so jealous about other God. Thus, the evolution or creation of the concept of God is closely related to the speech or language of the people evolved or created. If the sounds came out represented words and words formed into meaningful sentences and such sentences with all semantics and linguistic laws made them into identifiable language, and that language related to one particular people, as they spoke and thus, the language speaking people with that particular literature could be identified easily. As now, evolution requires male and female, necessarily, there has to be a family for god. As there have been “Son of God” [generally understood as Jesus, the son of Mary], “daughters of Allah” [al-Manat, al-Uzza and al-Lat] etc, it is evident that progeny of god is also implied.

Man, sex, language and mixing of races and languages[10]: Monogenetic or autogenetic creation of humanity has been divine and thus such things cannot take place. Only one Man can create woman[11] and only one Woman can create Man[12] and none can do such things thereafter. Thus, “the babel of tower” confronts the theologians, who make the deployment of linguists, psychologists, genetic experts and others come to rescue to come out with the concepts of ontogeny, phylogeny and epigeny in the creation of languages. Heterogenetics and variety of species, different languages etc., question the monogeny, autogeny, immaculate conception etc[13]. Thus, homosexuality confronts such theologians and scientific experts. However, in flora and fauna, there have been species that produce on their own. Believing in one makes to bewilder at times about the existence of more than one. Accepting more than one has no problem in considering one or the only one also without any difficulty. But, knowingly the existence of more than one, if one claims that it is only one and there is no one other than it etc., makes not only mathematics but also theology complicated. However, monists, monotheists and such other “only one” / “The One” hypothesists and theorists confront with others.

Vedaprakash

21-07-2009


[1] The year 2009 is the bicentennial of Darwin’s birthday, and sesquicentennial of publication of his book “The Origin of Species”.  http://darwin-year-2009.org/

However, the Indians never bother about Indian literature, where thousands of books have been written and available since c.3500 BCE etc., but, they are not worried about such 35 century year, 30 century year…….celebrations of the poet, astronomer etc.

[2] As in Chennai, we used to attend such conferences held in Five-star Hotels, where the elite and rich would come in BMWs and lecture about “Anatomy of poverty” and so on!

[3] The moment Chidambaram was made HM instead of FM, all have changed upside down or going reverse etc. in India. Note, now Kasab has started confessing differently.

[4] Note the irony, our Sanskrit Pundits and others have to listen to such “species” (with all due respects to Darwin), who descended here from heavens!

[5] In that way, other then the “chosen people”, the heathen / kafirs etc., have no redemption without the acceptance of Christ or Allah. The Afganisthanis have already started demanding Jizya from Kafirs.

[6] Of course, our Christian friends of expertise would give different interpretation about such “sounds”!

[7] Refer to Hussian Mohammed Pikthall’s translation of Quran for more details.

[8] Now, remember about Iravatham Mahadevan’s assertion about Authorized Version etc. Anyway, our Wales Professor of Sanksrit at Harvard University, USA has not still sent his papers and his friend IM has ben keeping quite!

Dr. Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University (USA), will deliver a set of three conferences in India. A very proper event in the year of the commemoration of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the famous scientist who was opposed by the Christian church for so long time.

http://asiatica.org/news/2009/06/26/conferences-in-india/

[9] Here, also there would be debate about “worship” and “veneration” of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Christ, Allah, Mohammed etc., as the respective believers would give different interpretation.

[10] Vedaprakash, Honing Celina, Yogic Ramdev, Worrying Christians and Gleeful Gays, dated 19-07-2009 posted in different forums.

[11] As Adam created Eve [autogenetic].

[12] As Mary begot Jesus [autogenetic ignoring Joseph or epigenetic with the impregnation of the Holy Spirit].

[13] So in the year of Darwin, the battalion of Holy Warriors has started trotting global countries taking about such things and educates the believers properly.



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DEVAPRIYA Says:

Various Biblical Lexicons say they do not know origin or Root of El or Mighty One

The Meaning is only assumed.

Elohim. m- Plural hi-Femine. saying God is dual

 

DEVAPRIYA Says:

” The Great Majority of readers take for Granted that Some Word Equivalent to “LORD” is in the Hebrew Text, but it is not. The Word-”Lod” is a title, not name;and not Name; and Putting it in Capital Letters does nothing to change this fact. But where the Bible Specifically has the personal name, translators should not take it upon themselves to make a substitution. The use of “Lord” instead of “Yahweh” effectively Depersonalises the Deity, turns Him into a kind of Vaugue abstaraction and rejects the repeated Emphasis in the Bible on his Unique personal relationship with Israel. It also disguises the fact tat YAHWEH is a Character in the Biblical Drama, with entrances and exis and a role to play, all assigned by the Writers.”
-Page 313 -Bible As Literature, Oxford University Press,
written by 3 Professors John.A.Gabel, Charles B.Wheelr and Antony.D.York.



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Interesting articles.

 

But real etymology of all Hebrew names must be analysed.



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How many gods are there?


The Hebrew Scriptures sometimes claim that there is only one God, and sometimes that Yahweh is the greatest among many gods. Things get even more confusing in the New Testament, where Jesus and the Holy Ghost are sometimes also referred to as God. The concept of the “Holy Trinity” was created to address this contradiction, but the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost continue to divide Christians today.


There is only one god.

Old Testament
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. Deuteronomy 4:35

The LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Deuteronomy 4:39

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. Deuteronomy 6:4

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me. Deuteronomy 32:39

The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. 1 Kings 18:39

I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.Isaiah 43:10

I am the LORD, and there is none else ... There is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. Isaiah 44:8

I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. Isaiah 45:5-6

There is no God else beside me ... There is none beside me. Isaiah 45:21

I am God, and there is none else: I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9

New Testament
The Lord our God is one Lord. Mark 12:29

There is one God; and there is none other but he. Mark 12:32

That they might know thee the only true God. John 17:3

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.1 Corinthians 8:6

There are several gods.

In the book of Genesis, God used a plural pronoun to refer to himself (herself, itself, or themselves), implying that there is more than one god up there.
And God said, let us make man in our image. Genesis 1:26

And the Lord God said, Behold, then man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. Genesis 3:22

Let us go down, and there confound their language. Genesis 11:7

The Old Testament God is a “god of gods” who is worshiped by the other gods..
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords. Deuteronomy 10:17

Worship him, all ye gods. Psalm 97:7

O give thanks unto the God of gods. Psalm 136:2

No other god is like him.
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord. Psalm 86:8
He is better than the other gods.
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Exodus 15:11

Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods. Exodus 18:11

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. Exodus 20:3-5

What God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works?Deuteronomy 3:24

Our Lord is above all gods. Psalm 135:5

The other gods will die someday.
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. Jeremiah 10:11
The Hebrew God judges the other gods.
And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. Exodus 12:12

Upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments. Numbers 33:4

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods.Psalm 82:1

And will punish them.
I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods.Jeremiah 46:25

The Lord will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth.Zephaniah 2:11

He is a jealous God (whose name is Jealous). So he forbids us to “go after” or worship any of his competitors.
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14

Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you.) Deuteronomy 6:14-15

Thou shalt not ... go after other gods to serve them. Deuteronomy 28:14

If you give God glory, he’ll go easy on you and all your other gods.
Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods. 1 Samuel 6:5

And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Jeremiah 25:6

But you must fear God more than all the other gods.
The Lord ... is to be feared above all gods. 1 Chronicles 16:25

For the Lord ... is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4

Don’t sacrfifice to any of the other gods. (Or God will kill you.)
He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed. Exodus 22:20
Don’t put any of the other gods before him.
Thou shalt have none other gods before me. Deuteronomy 5:7
Don’t make a covenant with them.
Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. Exodus 23:32
Don’t burn incense to them.
I will utter my judgments against them ... who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods. Jeremiah 1:16
Or even mention their names.
Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. Exodus 23:13
Put away your father’s gods.
Fear the Lord ... and put away the gods which your fathers served. Joshua 24:14
And stay away from the god named Chemosh.
Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?Judges 11:24
But don’t revile the other gods.
Thou shalt not revile the gods. Exodus 22:28
Other people served other gods (as did Abraham’s father Terah).
Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2
And a witch once saw gods going up to heaven.
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. 1 Samuel 28:13
Always remember that people are gods too. (Jesus used this when he was accused of making himself a god.)
I have said, Ye are gods. Psalm 82:6

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? John 10:33-34

And the three gods in heaven are really only one god. (Don't worry about this one too much. It's a mystery.)
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7


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 The Old Testament mentions multiple gods 

Verses: Multiple; Status: Minor

There are various hints in the Old Testament that the earlier Jewish authors thought that multiple gods existed, which would be in conflict with the later view that there is no god but God. There are so many such hints that I'm tempted to call this problem Serious. But there are a number of points that could be made against this view.

The easy cases

  • In the case of quoted speech, where some human mentions other gods, it doesn't necessarily follow that these gods exist, because the Bible doesn't necessarily endorse such quoted speech as correct.
  • God often commands the Israelites not to worship other gods, and other verses tell us that certain people worship different gods. But again, this doesn't imply they actually exist. One can easily worship a non-existent god.
  • There are cases where God seems to speak of himself in the plural (e.g. "let us go down"). But this could either refer to the Trinity, or to other heavenly beings such as angels. Or it could simply be the majestic plural.
  • There are verses where we are told that God is greater than other gods (e.g. Psalm 135:5). But this is trivially true if God exists and other gods don't.
  • There are verses where "the gods" could plausibly refer to human-built idols made out of wood or clay. For example, Jeremiah 10:11, when read in context, is clearly of this sort.

Judgement upon the gods

There are some verses where we are told that God passes judgement or punishment upon other gods. For example, this is Exodus 12:12:

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. (ESV)

Similar verses are at Numbers 33:4 and Jeremiah 46:25. While it's a bit of a stretch, one could see these as more cases where the "gods" are made out of clay, rather than being real.

The LORD, God of gods

There are verses where God is described as "God of gods". This is Psalm 136:2:

Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. (ESV)

Deuteronomy 10:17 is similar. Again, perhaps this is a stretch, but I think the phrase could conceivably mean "the one true God", or something of that ilk.

The hardest case? Psalm 82

I think this may be the hardest case. This is Psalm 82:1-2:

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? (ESV)

It's clear that God is upbraiding the "gods" for their injustice. The traditional interpretation is that these "gods" are merely the rulers and leaders of humanity. However, the Oxford Bible Commentary notes that this doesn't fit well with God's judgement upon these "gods". This is Psalm 82:6-7:

I said, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince." (ESV)

If the "gods" are actually only men, then condemning them to be mortal and "fall like any prince" makes little sense, since that's what would happen to them anyway. Still, if read in a certain way, this verse could simply mean that the human rulers' greatness will not save them from an ordinary human fate. That's the position taken by the NIV Study Bible.



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Polytheism in the Bible

Many gods aren't just in Greek or Roman legends. The Bible has polytheism as well.The first of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). (There aretwo very different sets of Ten Commandments in Exodus, but let’s ignore that for now.)

Have you ever thought much about the wording of this commandment? Why doesn’t it say that Jehovah is theonly god? It’s because this section of the Bible was written in the early days of the Israelite religion (roughly 10th century BCE) when it was still polytheistic. The next commandment notes, “I, Jehovah, your God, am a jealous God”—jealous because there were indeed other viable options, and Jehovah insisted on a commitment.

Jewish Henotheism

Let’s use the proper term for this, henotheism. Polytheists acknowledge many gods and worship many gods; henotheists acknowledge many gods but worship only one. In this view, different gods ruled different territories just as kings did, and tribes owed allegiance to whichever god protected them.

I’ve gotten a lot of insight into Old Testament henotheism from Thom Stark’s The Human Faces of God. Some of what follows comes from chapter 4 of that book.

The Song of Moses (Deut. 32) is considered to be some of the oldest material in the Bible—dating to the mid-13th c. BCE. We have several somewhat-inconsistent copies, the oldest being from the Dead Sea Scrolls:

When Elyon divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam,
he established the borders of the nations according to the number of the sons of the gods.
Yahweh’s portion was his people, [Israel] his allotted inheritance. (Deut. 32:8–9)

Here we see Elyon, the head of the divine pantheon, dividing humankind among his children, giving each his inheritance. The idea of a divine pantheon with a chief deity, his consort, and their children (the council of the gods) was widespread through the Ancient Near East. Elyon (short for El Elyon) is the chief god, not just in Jewish writings but in Canaanite literature. The passage concludes with Yahweh getting Israel as his inheritance.

We learn more about terms like “sons of the gods” by widening our focus to consider Ugaritic (Canaanite) texts. Ugarit was a Canaanite city destroyed along with much of the Ancient Near East during the Bronze Age Collapse in roughly 1200 BCE, a period of widespread chaos from which Israelite civilization seems to have grown.

The Ugaritic texts state that El and his consort Asherah had 70 sons, which may be the origin of the 70 nations (or 72) that came from Noah’s descendants listed in Genesis 10.

The Old Testament is full of clues to the existence of multiple gods. Genesis is a good place to start.

Then [Elohim] said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

We also see plural gods when Jehovah warns them that man mustn’t eat the tree of life (Gen. 3:22) and that they must confuse mankind’s languages lest their projects, like the Tower of Babel, succeed (Gen. 11:7).

A common Christian spin is either to say that the “us” is the Trinity or that it is a heavenly assembly of angels. But can we imagine that the original audience for Genesis would understand the Trinity? And why imagine an angelic assembly when the polytheistic interpretation of Genesis simply growing out of preceding Canaanite culture is available and plausible?

Psalms is another old book that has fossilized the earliest forms of Judaism. We see the assembly of the gods mentioned several times.

[Elohim] stands in the assembly of El; in the midst of the gods he renders judgment (Ps. 82:1).

For who in the skies can compare to [Jehovah]? Who is like [Jehovah] among the [sons of God], a God who is honored [in the great assembly of the holy ones], and more awesome than all who surround him? (Ps. 89:6–7)

And many more verses celebrate Jehovah while acknowledging the existence of others.

For [Jehovah] is the great God, and the great King above all gods (Ps. 95:3).

All the gods bow down before [Jehovah] (Ps. 97:7).

I know [Jehovah] is great, and our Lord is superior to all gods. (Ps. 135:5)

In a recent post, we’ve recently seen where Yahweh loses a fight with the Moabite god Chemosh (2 Kings 3:27).

Migration to Monotheism

We find one indication of the move from henotheism to monotheism in later versions of the Song of Moses (above). The phrase “sons of the gods” becomes “angels” in the Septuagint (3rd century BCE) and “sons of Israel” in the Masoretic text (7th through 10th centuries CE).

Let’s consider books composed later than Genesis or Psalms.

Deuteronomy was written after the conquest of Israel and before the conquest of Judah, in the 7th century BCE. The philosophy has moved from henotheism tomonolatry. Like henotheism, many gods are accepted and only one is worshipped, but now worship of other gods is forbidden.

Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you (Deut. 6:14)

But you must not turn away from all the commandments I am giving you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship them (Deut. 28:14–15).

Second Isaiah was written later, near the end of the Babylonian exile. Here we read that the move is complete.

Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me (Isa. 43:10)

The very idea of an idol is lampooned in Isa. 44:9–20. Can a man cook his meal over a fire made from half of the tree he used to carve his idol and imagine that an idol from so unrefined an origin is really a god?

What explains this migration to monotheism? A major factor was the Babylonian exile. How could Yahweh, clearly defined as the most powerful of the assembly of gods, have been defeated by the puny Babylonian god Marduk?

Maybe Yahweh let it happen to teach Israel and Judah a lesson. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Babylon didn’t defeat Yahweh’s people; they were merely a pawn in his grand plan all along.

A decent provision for the poor 
is the true test of civilization. 
— Samuel Johnson



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Many Gods in the Old Testament

 

This is really a deep subject, and if one looks at it from a different viewpoint than one grew up with it is really difficult to deal with.   A recurring thought is, what if the one God gets so angry with me that He strikes me dead;  worse yet, what if, because of what I am writing, He bars me from heaven.  However, I take comfort in the fact that I am writing things that the Bible clearly teaches.  I am not concocting any fabulous theories.  Based on what the Bible teaches I am portraying only facts.  With that in mind, we continue.

Notice these two Bible verses:
Genesis 19:24  Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 
Exodus 15:11 Our Lord, no other gods compare with you.
Hosea 1:7  I, [the Lord], (first person) will deliver them by the Lord their God (third person). 
 
These three verses very distinctly speak of more than one god.  Some of the newer translations rearrange Geneses 19:24 in such a way that the Lord is mentioned only once.  Was this change made because the translators could not grapple with the teaching that there is more than one God?  When I wrote about the Bible, (when I first started blogging) I wrote that changes like this were being made to the Bible so that the Bible would agree with the translator's theology.  Some would rather change the Bible then change their own preset conclusions! Abraham … dwelt on the other side of the river in old times: and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2.  The word we notice here is “gods” and it is the same word that is used in Genesis chapter one, (about the Gods which created heaven and earth), and in many other incidents throughout the Old Testament.  The gods are written about in plural, and as was already mentioned, the word gods does not always refer to idols.
 
The Psalmist said, For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:3.  Again, the word “gods” here, is the same word used in Genesis chapter one, speaking about a collective, creative group of gods.   

O Israel, listen: Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone. Deut. 6:4 (The Living Bible) Many theologians have used Deut. 6:4 to prove, from the Bible, that there is only one God (Jehovah), whereas it explicitly states the exact opposite.  What it actually says is that there are other Gods, but for Israel, there is to be only one God; His name is Jehovah.  Therefore, for all practical purposes, as far as praise and faith are concerned, for Muslims, for Jews and for The Church, it is not wrong to declare that there is only one God.  However, among those who want to be true to the Bible, it must be agreed, that the Bible distinctly teaches the existence of other Gods than Jehovah.
 
Wikipedia writes, Recognized scholars have formulated a substantial case for ancient Israel's practice of Monolatry.  The book of Exodus, in fact none of “The Law”, denies the existence of other Gods.  However, it does make a strong issue of the fact that the Jews are to follow and worship only Jehovah.  We recall, from a few posts ago, that monolatry means, to worship one.  This viewpoint recognizes the existence of a plurality of actual gods, but insists that there is only one God worthy of worship.   For the Christian church that One is Jehovah. 

Why don't we try and let the Bible speak for itself, even if it means that we have to "think again" about the basics that we have learned in the church, in the mosque, or in the temple.

Psalm 82:1 "He (God), judges among the gods". I think that one of the clues understanding the use of multiple gods (beside God) definitely goes back to Egypt. Two main figures, Joseph and Moses lived (and were certainly influenced) by the Egyptians.
Shortly: There is a man called Yuya in Egypt. (Egyptian names often combined a goodly name in the name, like TUT-ANKH(=life)-AMON(the god). One theory is that Yu-Ya could be a named built from YU-Yuseph(Josef) and YA (Yahweh). YUYA happened to be the person in charge for the chariots (suites the bible story also) with title Master of the Horses and King’s Lieutenant. He was a very high ranked person.
YUYAs names is spelled many ways in Egypt (why) maybe he was a foreigner whos name was hard to spell (ex YIYA, YUYU, YAYA...). Yuyas appearance is NOT typically Egyptian.

Yuya´s daughter married pharaoh Amenhotep III, who is father to pharaoh Akhenaten. Akhenaten was was either a monotheist OR at least favored the belief in ONE god (while it seems he allowed ordinary people to continue their traditions with other gods). So a question here, could Akhenaten be Moses?

Anyway, influence from Egypt in the belief system have colored their view. The bible also uses AMEN which is no hebrew word, and has actually NO meaning, unless it is refearred to the Egyptian AMEN or AMUN (the hidden god). 

Akhenaten (composes) the Hymn To Aten, which shares similarities, and could have influenced the biblical PSALM 104.

God is described (in an Egyptian way) in the bible, as SHINING UPON US, think about that sentence beeing placed into Akhenatens (Moses) Egypt.
Well, this was just some theories, but could open up for a new understanding of the relationship between biblical notes about many gods versus "the one", and Egypt.



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The O.T. teaching about various gods.

 
In my last post I wrote that we will look at what the Bible says about the plurality of the gods.  If you have been in a Christian church, even a few times, you probably have heard that there is only one God.  I do not deny that the Bible says that that is true.  The Bible also speaks of the fact that there are Gods.  It is easy to say that this refers to idols but that is absolutely untrue in every mention of the Gods.

A good place to start is probably at the beginning.  Lets look at Genesis 1:1, (the first verse in the Bible).  In the beginning God created heaven and earth.  Even Bible teachers who believe that there is only one God, admit that the word God, as it is used here is a plural word for God.  So that Genesis 1:1 really should read like this, In the Beginning the gods created heaven and earth.  

Then, in the second book of the Bible we find these interesting words, I will pass through the land of Egypt...and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.  Ex. 12:12  Bible teachers tell us that the word "gods" refers to Egypt's idols.  That argument does not stand up because the definition for the word "gods" here is the same as the definition for the word God in Geneses 1:1.  So, in this instance, are we going to take what the Bible says literally, or are we going to say as theologians do, “the Bible does not mean what it says”? 
 
Now, back to Genesis 1:26, Then God (the gods) said, "Let us make man in our image".   If these gods were only one God, why would He speak to Himself?  Why would He not just think, I will make man in my own image, and then proceed to do it?  People who insist that there is only one God have strange ways of trying to prove that the Bible does not teach that there is more than one God.   In this case they say that God used the plural word even though he meant the singular word, this is called, using, "the royal we".  It is said that Queen Victoria used to say "we" when she meant "I".   Admittedly, this is one way of explaining the problem, but it sounds like nothing more than an easy way out of an interpretation dead end, if you believe in only one God.  Concerning the problem of the plural pronoun, the well-known author, Isaac Asimov, said,  It is possible to argue that this (the plural pronoun) is not true evidence of early polytheism. God might be viewed as using the royal “we”; ... Nevertheless, as far as we know...early beliefs were always polytheistic and monotheism was a late development in the history of ideas.  Or, in other words, why would the writer of Geneses have spoken of a singular God when everyone else in his time period spoke of a variety of gods?

Mr. Roop, in his commentary on the words, Let us make man in our image, Genesis 1:26, wrote; God speaks to a group … Yahweh sits in the company of other divine beings.  Then, almost as an afterthought, because he realized that a statement like that does not fit church theology he wrote, for example, angels.  But the evangelical church has never thought of angels as divine beings


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THE BIBLE’S MANY GODS

The idea that there are other “gods” who exist as real supernatural beings, albeit infinitely inferior to the only Creator and Redeemer, pervades the Bible. The Psalms fairly explode with evidence. “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord” (86:8); “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods” (96:4); “Our Lord is above all gods” (135:5); “Ascribe to Yahweh, [you] gods, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength” (29:1, my trans.); “He is exalted above all gods” (97:7); “For Yahweh is a great god, and a great king above all gods” (95:3, my trans.). And so on.

But it’s not just the Psalms. In Exodus Yahweh predicts that he will execute judgments “on all the gods of Egypt” (12:12). The author of Numbers then declares that that is indeed what happened: “Yahweh executed judgments against their gods” (33:4). There is no hint that Yahweh is the only God. Instead it is clearly implied that Egypt has her own gods, and Yahweh will defeat them.

When Yahweh gives his people the Ten Commandments, the first commandment implies the existence of other gods: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3; see also Deut. 5:7). In Exodus 23:32–33 Israel is told not to covenant with or worship other gods; there is no suggestion that the gods of Israel’s neighbors do not exist.

In Deuteronomy 4:19 the Israelites are forbidden from worshipping “the sun, the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven . . . [which] Yahweh your god has allotted to all the peoples everywhere under heaven.” In other words, they were told not to worship other gods, not because those gods did not exist, but because they were supposed to rule other peoples, not Israel.

Yahweh himself, who created and rules the other gods, would rule Israel directly. He would rule the nations indirectly through the delegated authority of other gods. This, apparently, was the original intent behind the strange passage regarding the “prince of Persia” in Daniel 10: “The prince of Persia withstood me [perhaps the angel Gabriel] twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me” (v. 13).

Something had gone terribly wrong in Psalm 82. The supernatural beings He had appointed to rule the nations justly had failed to perform. They were supposed to rule with justice, executing judgments on behalf of the poor, the widows and the rest of the nations. But because they did not judge properly, Yahweh would judge them. And the punishment was ferocious.

[Yahweh] has taken his place in the divine council,
In the midst of the gods he passes judgment. . . .
And all of you, sons of Elyon [God Most High]
Instead like Adam you shall die,
And like one of the ‘Shining Ones’ you shall fall.”
“Arise, O Yahweh; Judge the earth!
May you take possession of all the nations!”

If these “gods” were really human beings, verse 7 would not make sense, for all humans die like Adam. Why would this be a special punishment? Instead, there is a hint in this verse of cosmic rebellion against Yahweh. It calls to mind Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, where the king of Babylon and prince of Tyre are condemned for their rebellious pride. In Isaiah 14:13–14, the rebellion is explicit. The “Shining One, son of Dawn” (the same phrase used here in Ps. 82:7) tried to place himself above “the stars of El [the highest God, or Yahweh]” to “sit enthroned in the Mount of Assembly (of the gods),” to “be like Elyon [the fuller name for the Most High God].”

The drift of these passages is that the gods—which are sometimes regarded in the Hebrew Bible as fallen angels and arguably are the genesis of Paul’s “principalities and powers”—are condemned to death not simply because of their failure to rule with justice, but more importantly, for their rebellion against their Maker, Yahweh. Their unjust rule of the nations was simply one of many expressions of their rebellion, which was the principal reason for Yahweh’s discipline.

Christians later came to see these two stories in the prophets as allusions to Satan’s fall from grace. Once created as God’s most gifted and beautiful supernatural being, Satan abused his authority and then led a rebellion against Yahweh. God punished him by limiting his authority on earth; he is still the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) but his authority is checked by God’s sovereign purposes, and his final destruction is decreed.

N. T. Wright calls this “creational monotheism,” which means that Yahweh rules over a cosmos thick with not only good angels but also fallen angels masquerading as the true God. Wright insists that “we have very few examples of ‘pure’ monotheism anywhere, including in the Hebrew Bible.”

For the biblical authors, these weak and beggarly “gods” helped explain why this cosmos seems to be at war, both spiritually and politically. They believed the ancient pagan religions were animated by powers hostile to Yahweh, actively fighting Yahweh’s control of the cosmos. It was no surprise to them that history is full of conflict, because its driving animus is conflict between supernatural forces, which are visibly represented by both religious and political communities.

In other words, wars between nations were really only the shadowy surface of the deeper and more fundamental combat between spiritual powers. So Samuel Huntington, the Harvard political scientist whose Clash of Civilizations claimed the real inspiration for modern wars would be cultural and religious, was making what might be seen as a biblical argument.

Gerald McDermott is the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College. He is the co-author of A Trinitarian Theology of Religions (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).



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1 Kings11: Solomon Built temple for abomination of the Israelites Yahweh and then

5  For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

6  So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not completely follow the LORD, as his father David had done.

7  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.

8  He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.



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