Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The O.T. teaching about various gods.

In my last post I wrote that we will take a closer 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 statement is not true in every mention of the Gods.

A good place to start is probably at the beginning.  Let us 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.  Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; Strong H430

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.  However, that argument does not stand 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. 

Can we not at least consider the thought that there is more than one God?  If that thought, after serious study, just does not "fly" then discard it.