Struggling with this info that is new to me - Hebrews & Other Gods

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Found the above post in reddit talking about how christianity is a lie because of… well the reasons that the user posted above [that Yahweh was one god among many]. I beleive it is an excerpt from this book, The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (The Biblical Resource Series) Amazon.com.

I admit it has filled me with doubt, how could yahweh be the true god if there were other gods beside him and if the other gods are as easily disposable then what prevented the ancinet isrealites removing yahweh as well, what made them choose yahweh as the true god?

Also has anyone read the above mentioned book?

P.s. post starts from the bottom up

Great question. it’s not a new concept, from my understanding. Biblical scholars are well aware that the ancient Hebrews thought God was first among many gods. There was also syncretism with other belief. Pete Enns wrote about this, too.

I’m not sure of all the questions (I am no Bible scholar–I never attended a Bible college). However, I am not sure what it matters about the evolution of belief. Lamoureux wore that in our understanding, God is the epitome of what’s good, best, and righteous–and so the name doesn’t seem to matter too much.

It’s been said that Allah was evolved from a similar situation (along with the Ka’abah’s shrine to multiple deities), but Muhammad was under influence by Christian monotheists.

I look forward to what others think.
Thanks.

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Kevin,
After reading your post I almost started a new thread: “Struggling with this post that is new to me.” :smile:

  • To begin with you quote a post from that “trash heap” called Redditt, in which the author uses foul language freely and argues–which is a really generous characterization–that “the idea of god being the only god wasn’t even considered until around 600 ce.” And that Jesus never preached about his old man being the only god." Then the author says: “religion is incoherent because the narrative changes depending on what is need to control the society that it subjugates, the reach of its power, and the wealth of its coffers.”
    • Paraphrased, that brilliant assessment of all religion is that it’s all about control, power, and getting wealth.
  • Blah, blah, blah.
  • You say the Reddit post filled you with doubt.
  • What it fills me with is a suspicion that the post was written by an anti-Christian anti-theist with an axe to grind, no therapist, and serious mental and or emotional problems.
  • Gee, that sounds just like the kind of guy I’d want my daughter to marry, if I had a daughter. LOL!
  • In answer to your question, no I haven’t read the book you mentioned and, personally, I doubt the Reddit post’s author had the attention span or genuine interest to read it either.
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I think the issue arises when we try to place our creator into a box that he only reached out to humanity through one tribe. I find it hard to believe that our creator only reached out as Yahweh to just Jews starting a few thousand years ago and was complexly silent throughout the rest of the world.

When we read the tanakh we know that at least four main traditions were used in the editing of the scriptures into what we call the Bible. That’s why we see El in genesis 1 and Yahweh in genesis 2. It why throughout the Bible we see places where kings and chronicles tells a slightly different story. If we believe Yahweh was only reaching out to the Jews then why not say he was silent throughout all of creation until then. That he never interacted with Neanderthals through the Holy Spirit and ect… we know when the gifts were here he spoke through dreams and so on. So why not also presume he spoke through dreams tk to the rest of creation.

Or you can look at the hosts of heaven. Satan was an angel as well. He was called “ god of this world” yet we don’t confuse him for being the god. So maybe god means something other than most powerful being to ancient Jews and Greeks. Maybe Elohim means spiritual being. Those other gods could simply be just like the “ god of this world satan”. Other angels that were rebellious.

So, let’s think about the Reddit author’s post again. What’s the dude saying?

  • He says “religion is incoherent”, that it doesn’t make sense.
  • Okay, what does he want us to believe?
    • He wants us to believe “there was no idea of the god of Israel being the only god wasn’t even considered until around 600 ce.”
      • Say what? 600 ce? That’s 600 Common Era, about 594 years after Jesus was born. That’s nonsense. At a stretch, Moses and his hike up a mountain and his return back down the mountain, would have been no later than 1400 B.C., 2,000 years before the Reddit author says there was any idea of only one god of Israel. Seriously, the Reddit author is just spewing trash.
    • What the Reddit author may have meant was that the idea of one god of Israel didn’t exist until 600 B.C. But even then, that would have been about 800 years after Moses “took his hike up the mountain.” Do you see a problem? I sure do, … several of them.
  • But wait a minute, … religions are not all monotheistic, i.e. believe in one god . And the Reddit says all of them, polytheistic AND monotheistic are incoherent. So, let’s get rid of them all. What’s left? Really, … would everything be hunky-dory the way it was before there were any religions? Imagine a world without religion, would that be an improvement? Think about it. Does anyone really think that, in a world without religion, nobody would want to subjugate and control another society, extend it’s power, and increase its wealth?
    • Personally, I think the desire for power and control and wealth can exist where there is no religion. Religion is just one of the things to achieve those goals.
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None of this has anything to do with the claim of God in Christ, i.e. Christianity. Apart from [as background] culturally, anthropologically, naturally. The Incarnation had to happen somewhere; it couldn’t have happened anywhere, anywhen else. Second Temple Judaism at the crossroads of Asian, African and European civilization was the perfect soil for That Seed. As history shows.

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Ok, let’s step back and analyse what the post is actually claiming.

  1. No idea what’s the meaning/point of quoting Daniel 11:36 :woman_shrugging:t2: seems very much out of context
  2. Not sure what’s the point in bringing up the story of Moses being given the commandments either…
  3. Regarding the idea of only one God not being around untill 600 ce… I think @Terry_Sampson has already dealt with this, and anyway the author should have provided more details about bold claim like that
  4. So what if Jesus never explicitly stated that “his old man was the only God”? We often don’t, if things are obvious to us and those around.
  5. So religion is incoherent…and so is the person behind this post as I’m struggling to understand it (could be because English isn’t my 1st language though)
  6. Again not sure what’s the point in quoting Deuteronomy… usually if it’s me quoting Bible, I make sure the audience understands why I’m doing it and what exactly the specific verse proves, anyway…
  7. Is the author trying to claim that the dead sea Scrolls are more important than the Bible?
  8. Regarding psalms (if you gonna mention it, why just not quote the actual thing? assuming the reader is going to look everything up in your post is kinda rude, especially if you’re making bold claims) it’s generally acknowledged that they’re poems, therefore they should not be taken literally…
  9. I hope someone else can shed some light on this one: God(Yahweh) having a father and being one of 69 brothers. (Again a bit rude not to provide a quote, does the author expects his audience to read all 34 chapters of Deuteronomy?) I used to consume a lot of anti-theist resources, and I’m puzzled as to why I never heard that one :woman_shrugging:t2: it seems quite a strong argument, so why isn’t it brought up more often?
  10. Dead sea Scrolls are mentioned again, as a lot of arguments seem to have basis in them. I’ve heard of them, but I’m not an expert. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could shed some light on this?
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LOL!!

  • I’ve “kicked the soccer ball” twice and now you’ve kicked it. Poor @Trippy_Elixir is going to have to run far and fast to get the ball back to the other end of the field.
  • You definitely kicked the ball more and farther than I did.
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Really good thread and looking forward to academic answers here . Some others have provided are “good” but not sufficient . Arguments are weak. But great thread and questions none the less. I do have some answers in favour of Christianity surprisingly enough but not for all of them.

No one remotely familiar with Historical Christianity or the Bible doubts that there are other “deities” besides the one eternal God we know as Yahweh. This is embraced by most Christians I know in at least two senses:

Firstly, there are other gods that were believed in. the other nations had other deities that they worshipped. this is acknowledged by everyone, and is hardly a surprise, nor is really controversial in any way. This is still even acknowledged all throughout the New Testament.

Secondly, it is recognized that many of these gods of the OT were in fact real supernatural deities… we Christians believe in satan and the demons… is it really that odd that we recognize that much of the godless religion practiced in various nations was to, and quite perhaps influenced by, demonic supernatural deities? So again, this is hardly surprising to us Christians.

for instance, Deuteronomy 32 is instructive… and interestingly, parts of Deuteronomy 32 I’ve found to be a favorite for those who, like your posts above, want to try to suggest that Yahweh was just me of many and evolved into being a monotheistic supreme being (just as Deut 32 was indeed mentioned above). But the very passage they like to quote, however, observes that even then they recognized that the gods to whom other nations sacrificed were indeed real, and indeed demons:

They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
to gods they had never known,
to new gods that had come recently,

And again, even this basic recognition is rather standard even in the New Testament:

what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons

So basically, While the OT doesn’t speak about these things in the strict same language or categories that we find in the New Testament, it really isn’t like there is really that much difference. also, without getting into the weeds, I will also observe that the translating going on to make their case is sometimes very loose, dry influenced it seems to me by the conclusion they want to reach.

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Also, for what it is worth, I’d commend the posts @Terry_Sampson and @marta gave, some additional excellent posts.

I would also echo their observation that the author of the posts really was a bit off the wall… he compared the age of the Dead Sea Scrolls to an English translation (and not even the earliest English translation) as if that would have any meaning or substance to the point at hand?

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The ancient Israelites were not monotheists. Neither were the Greeks and Romans. That God humored their conception of the world is an often cited example of divine accommodation.

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Very well put

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wrongly put, as in its conception religion is for the benefit of all, representing a common worldview. it can however be misconstrued for personal benefits, like anything else

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I think that his entire post agrees with yours–he is a Christian, and was trying to say that religion can be a way to achieve those goals (though should not be). I would agree with your post, too. Thanks

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The title said “info that is new”, but all I saw was rhetoric and suppositions.

Saying “Christianity is a lie” makes no more sense than saying…
Science is a lie.
The moon is a lie.
Football is a lie.

The term “lie” (i.e. untruth?) only applies to statements and these are not statements.
Can you find lies in football? Yes.
Can you find lies about the moon? Yes.
Can you find lies in Science? Yes.
Can you find lies in Christianity? Of course.

You have to be more specific. But frankly this reminds me of people saying that storytellers are just liars. It is an inane sort of self-serving black and white mentality.

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I have some thoughts on this question that I hope are different from the usual responses.

Instead of addressing the gross errors of the Reddit comments on god’s vs God (there is absolutely a difference between the two and almost all Bible’s make the intended writers distinction between the two by using or not using a capital “g”.

Firstly, if there is no creator God, how did we get here, for what purpose are we here, and where the heck are we going in the future?

I have stated for years, ultimately the epistemological dilemma leaves us with a bit of a lottery type selection.
So I look at it rather simply…at the end of the day we have two options:

  1. There is no creator, no God, after this life ends it’s “Kaput”!
  2. There is a creator God, a saviour who died for our sins, and if we choose him, eternal life.

Naturally, none, we’re - at best - half way to extinction in several hundred thousand years.

EL, DEITY (אֵל, el).
This is a West Semitic word meaning “god.” In the Old Testament, it is frequently used to refer to the God of Israel (e.g., Gen 31:29; 33:20; Num 12:13) or to other gods (Exod 15:11; 34:14; Deut 32:21; Psa 44:20).

In ancient texts from Ugarit, it was the name for the Canaanite creator god, father of gods and humans, and head of the Canaanite pantheon.

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

Daniel 11:36

Daniel 11:36–39.

The king, Antiochus IV, will do as he pleases (11:36). The same is said of Persia (the ram; 8:4), Alexander the Great (11:3), and Antiochus III (11:16).

However, the legitimacy of their power is questionable, and their dominions are temporal. God also does as he pleases (4:35), but his reign is just and his kingdom is eternal (4:34).

The statement He will exalt and magnify himself above every god (11:36) repeats an earlier theme: the hubris of Antiochus IV. He set himself up “to be as great as the Prince of the host,” that is, God (some say it is Michael.

This may be an allusion to the figure who seeks to lift himself to the level of God in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

The measure of his self-aggrandizement can be seen in the coins Antiochus IV minted where in his likeness he fashioned himself as Zeus. The epitome of arrogance is apparent also in the inscription he put on some of these coins in the latter part of his reign: “Of King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-Bearer.”

The title “Victory-Bearer” was an epithet of Zeus Olympios (Driver, Daniel, pp. 191–93) and Apollo.

Because Antiochus was such a megalomaniac, behind his back some mockingly called him Epimanes, “the mad one,” instead of Epiphanes, “God manifest.”

In an echo of Daniel 11:36, the apostle Paul predicts that the coming Antichrist “will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

Verse 36: The king will also say unheard-of things against the God of gods (11:36). This is reminiscent of the horn with “a mouth that spoke boastfully” (7:8) and that “will speak against the Most-High” (7:25).

Although we do not have specific examples of Antiochus’s blasphemies from history, this claim is believable, knowing this king’s character. In Hebrew, “x of x” indicates the superlative, as in “Song of Songs” (Song 1:1), which is “the greatest song”; “holy of holies” or “the Most Holy Place” (Exod. 26:33, 34); and “vanity of vanities,” which means “most vain” (Eccl. 1:2; NIV “meaningless”).

The term “God of gods,” then, means “the greatest God,” which for Israelite monotheists signified the one true God, who was and is greater than all other “gods” (falsely so called).

The king will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place (11:36). Daniel uses language similar to Isaiah’s .

The “time of wrath,” or “indignation,” most likely refers to the fury of Antiochus vented against the Jews (Collins, Daniel, p. 386; some take it to speak of the wrath of God: e.g., Lucas, Decoding Daniel, p. 289, and Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel, p. 237). Heaven will not allow this period to go on indefinitely, for God has decreed a set time for it to end.

It is not clear how Antiochus showed no regard for the various gods (11:37). In fact, Polybius gives him credit for worshiping many gods (Polybius, Hist. 30.25–26).
Perhaps this verse refers to the fact that he plundered temples to fill his treasury.

By putting himself ahead of the cults he robbed, he showed that he exalted himself above them all (11:37). The god desired by women (11:37) is usually identified as Tammuz, a Babylonian god who was loved by Ishtar and who died young; his female devotees would mourn his death (Ezek. 8:14).

Deuteronomy 32:8-9
Verse 8 thus embodies a universal, providential understanding of God in relation to the nations of humanity at large, while verse 9 expresses the particular elective-redemptive relationship of God to Israel.

This is reflected in the two names used: the Most High (“Elyon,” otherwise not used in Deuteronomy, but elsewhere associated with non-Israelite nations, e.g., Gen. 14:18–22; Num. 24:16) and the LORD (Yahweh, the redemptive, covenant name of God as known in Israel).

Yahweh, of course, is synonymous with Elyon here.

There is no possibility that Yahweh is simply one of the “sons of the gods” to whom nations are allocated. The point is that the one and only God, known to Israel as Yahweh, is the same Most High God who is sovereign among the nations of humanity.

While it is true, then, that verses 8–9 function in their immediate context to reinforce the special relationship between Yahweh and Israel, they also function to keep the wider context in mind in a way that will be important later in the song. Yahweh, Most High, is God of the whole earth and all nations and as such is uniquely the God of Israel.

Where is the quote “the only god, god”?

“The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (The Biblical Resource Series)” the confusing thesis would be disregarded by conservatives but promoted by liberal theologians. Either it is intentional or ignorant research.

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Didn’t your parents have that talk with you, the birds and the bees? :wink:

I can think of hundreds of other options. For example, we could be part of a simulation, so when we die in this life we simply wake up the simulation center. There could also be a creator God who gives people eternal life for simply being a decent person and without any need to worship or believe in the creator God. The options are nearly endless.

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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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