Origins of Yahweh?

I have thought about this quite a bit because of the great Larycia Hawkins v. Wheaton College debacle. (If you will google it you will find many great minds weighing in on the topic.)

If we are talking about referents, I think the word Allah refers to the same referent as the God of Abraham. I believe all of the Abrahamic religions intend to direct their worship to the same entity, the one true God. So in that sense, yes.

However. I think the label triggers very different concepts for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. So in the sense of “Do Muslims, Christians, and Jews conceive of God in similar enough ways that their worship would be recognizable as directed at the same entity by an outside observer?” No, probably not. But if a Muslim comes to Christian faith, he or she does not exchange Allah for a different object of worship, he or she builds a different conception of who Allah is and what he wants from worshippers.

I think it is perfectly acceptable to say that I and a white Nationalist immigrant-hater follow different Jesuses. Everyone knows that means you are saying we have different concepts of who Jesus is and what he wants from us. I think it is also perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that when either of us talk about Jesus we have the same historical person as a referent in mind, so in that sense we are talking about the same Jesus.


We discussed the idea of different Gods a while back in a thread. What I remember from that was that it depends on the context. In some respects, it is the same God, in some respects not. We had the same discussion about whether the God another local church worshipped when their theology was non-trinitarian, was the same as ours. Our pastor ultimately said no, they were not the same, but it is a real gray area, as 90% of our theology was shared. I think that we have an infinite God, and whatever concept we have of him is limited and wrong in some respects.

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I watched a video by an ex-Christian a while back, and he says he doesn’t identify as an atheist because there are so many concepts of god. He says that if someone asks him if he’s an atheist, he asks them to tell him about their god… and then decides whether he’s an atheist or not about that god. In that sense, as others have said, even Christians can worship very different iterations of God. Some Christians, like myself, have at times developed a view of God as someone who’s obsessed with our good behavior, but have subsequently recovered (and continue to recover) a sense of grace and mercy in how we view that God (and ourselves in relation). Still, I would like to believe that I’ve come to see God a little bit more clearly rather than switched to a different one, though some “raised in the church” Christians can still have what feels like a conversion experience later in life that probably feels that way.


Christians read both the Old and New Testaments The God of the OT is often seen as legalistic and certainly there is that aspect to the OT. Many Christians testify to a born again experience when they make the transition from the legalistic God of the OT to the Savior God of the NT.

I would hope that your God is first and foremost Jesus Christ, Who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of our faith and this should lessen the confusion over legalism. Love over obedience.

Christians believe in the God of the Bible. We understand that the God depicted in the OT is not exactly the same as the one in the NT, as do the Jews, but we say He is the same God, because Jesus says He is and demonstrates that the Father is… There is no such continuity and connection with Allah, the God of the Quran.

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Too bad Jesus apparently wasn’t aware that his belief in angels was actually belief in a concept that had evolved from various other sources. How foolish of him to speak to demons and about angels as if he had any authoritative, firsthand knowledge.

And thus, to @massam 's original question, the other major issue is simply as to whether anything about transcendent or supernatural truth has been revealed to us, or whether it is the result of the “evolution of religion”. critical scholars also, i neglected to observe above, also depend entirely on the assumption that beliefs about yahweh evolved, and they discount the very idea that anything known about him has been revealed… but then their very conclusions are simply, a result of question begging… they arrive at precisely the same assumptions they began with.

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Sorry? I don’t see the connections.

The five Marcan earliest accounts and one Lucan account, at least 30 years after their setting, of Jesus interacting with demoniacs aren’t foolishness on His part, regardless of which permutation of reality is true. At the very least they are culturally, mythically appropriate. One always gives the fullest possible goodwill to texts unless they are blatant frauds for unenlightened purposes. Even then the motivations of the writers is fascinating. The problem with angels, fallen and not, now is that interestingly they can only be believed in by faith, they explain nothing at all about historical human experience. Belief in them does of course, as the Spanish Inquisition realised. That belief was the problem. So they stopped stoking the fires. Angels, fallen and not, make the transcendent far less credible. Yet they are integral to the decades after the event gospels.

There is no rational alternative whatsoever to the evolutionary emergence of Yahweh from the NW Arabian desert storm god. The emergence of Aten happened in Egypt shortly after.

Yes. I continue to recommend following Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s hermeneutic as opposed to everyone else’s trusting in their own bootstraps (and some of those are stretchier than others :slightly_smiling_face:).

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Well said and welcome! Maybe you can tell us more about your self and, if you like, you thoughts. Thanks.

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Monotheism is one of my major research areas, starting with my doctoral work on the Gospel of John and explored further in my second book The Only True God.. I also have a number of smaller contributions to reference works on the topic.


On the other hand, Pastafarians are monotheistic.

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Thanks! Nice to meet you.


Dr. James F. McGrath is the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University. His PhD is from the University of Durham in England. His interests include not only early Christianity but also the Mandaeans, science fiction, and the intersection of religion and science. He blogs at Religion Prof on the Patheos web site.

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Yahweh has no origin or end. He just is. Can’t fit an infinite God into a finite mind. As a kid, a friend’s dad said prophetically, you can’t stretch a mosquito’ ass over a washtub.

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Like nature. Which is infinitely simpler and explains everything just as well.

It seems that there is a very serious problem here. Muslims claim that Allah, The God, wrote the Quran, that it is literally the Words of Allah. It says that that Jesus was a super prophet who condemned the Jews for their failure to obey Allah. He did not die on the cross and arise from the dead.

While I would agree that there are not two Gods, the alternative that either the Quran or the Bible is a lie is also not attractive.

Roger, how do you get from “difficult to draw a line between what is meant by God and what is meant by Allah” all the way to: “everything in the Quran must be true”?! It’s almost like you’re saying that anybody who refers to or worships the true Creator cannot possibly have any wrong ideas about the same. I wouldn’t even make that claim about the most faithful Christians!

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I would be one of the last one to say that everything in the Bible must be true, but the theology of Islam does claim that everything in the Quran must be true. Not only that but it seems that the Quran contradicts with the NT on the basic facts, such as the crucifixion.

If you think that God can and would deny the Son ,just say so. Muslim believe that Allah streamed His words to Muhammad, His Prophet or Spokesman, and these messages were collected and published as the Quran shortly after his death. The problem is not with understanding what Allan sad, that is clear for the most part. The problem is the content of what Allah said.

The problem is not what some people think is in the Bible. The problem is what everyone agrees is in the Quran.

I didn’t read everything @ReligionProf linked, but just from what you quoted of his post, it sounds like he was only addressing the question: can Allah be considered to be the same as the Judeo-Christian God?

So you still haven’t made it clear how this gets pulled down into the weeds of all these other downstream questions about the status of various holy books. To affirm that Allah is the Arabic name for “The Lord” [“The God”] (which it is … as a matter of simple language translation) does not equal these other exploded claims you are drawing into it. It does not suddenly entail a claim that the Quran is an infallible book.


Indeed. It is quite simple to say that there is only one God, that Abrahamic faiths all direct their worship to that one God, and at the same time say that one is convinced that any or all of these groups are wrong in some of their doctrines about the one God.

No one would say, if their friend holds a mistaken belief about a mutual acquaintance, that that friend knows a “different person” rather than holding wrong beliefs about the same person they are both referring to. I’m honestly not sure what it is that makes some people gravitate towards talking about a “different god” in cases like this. It is inaccurate, confusing, and theologically problematic to do so.


If a young man had been told all his life a sort of “noble lie” by his mother about his father… and consequently had believed his whole life that his father had been a tender, doting, loving, and committed man who had died in a foreign war when he was a mere three years old…

Only for that young man to find out in his mid-twenties, upon a chance meeting and discovery of his real father, that his father was in fact an abusive, misogynistic drunkard that had been arrested and stripped of parental rights due to child neglect and abuse…

Would it be of great significance or help to this young man to remind him that he was still talking about the “same” father that he knew and adored in his childhood and teen years? “He is the same father, after all.” Sure, if we are limiting the discussion strictly to the question of, “from what male human did you inherit your DNA?”

So Sure, in the most strict and technical sense, the entity, or being, that we are talking about is the same. I could similarly LT say that “there is no other person on the planet that could be defined as your father”. It is the “same father.” But in a much more significant, personal, and very real sense, we are talking about two very, very different “Fathers”, no? And in my scenario, the two “fathers” we are speaking about could hardly be more different or clearly distinguished.

Similarly, in the most strict and technical sense, there is certainly a sense in which the god of Islam is the same as that of Christianity… in that we are speaking strictly about the being defined as the independent Omnipotent eternal creator of all things.

But if we allow the discussion to venture into the territory of who, exactly, this being actually is, in terms of personality, values, communications, relationships, promises, commitments, requirements, and the like…. It becomes clear that in that sense, similarly, we are talking about two very different entities… no?

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We are talking about the same individual with radically different descriptions of their attributes. That’s precisely the point.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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