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Author Topic:   If there is a God .. is there only 1?
zephyr
Member (Idle past 4577 days)
Posts: 821
From: FOB Taji, Iraq
Joined: 04-22-2003


Message 16 of 29 (39017)
05-05-2003 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by funkmasterfreaky
05-05-2003 12:45 PM


Re: Victor's History
Well, it had to be somewhat believable. How else would we still have people claiming it's 100% literally true?

This message is a reply to:
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truthlover
Member (Idle past 4086 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 17 of 29 (39035)
05-05-2003 8:31 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by amsmith986
05-02-2003 3:00 PM


One God of the Jews
quote:
I see what you mean there too, but I think that the Jewish people were always monotheistic.
I used to believe this, too. The Bible, with a little help from historians and a fundamentalist prayer book, straightened me out on this.
Melchizedek has to be one of the most fascinating characters in the Bible. He's hardly mentioned in Genesis, but then David says there will be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, and the writer of Hebrews devotes a chapter or two to expounding the meaning of all this.
What stands out to me, though, is here is this Canaanite priest/king, who serves a God called El Elyon, and Abraham pays him tithes. Melchizedek feels quite free to call Abraham "Abram of El Elyon."
It's all cleaned up for the English-speaking Christian who thinks Jews were always monotheistic. It says "Most High God" rather than "El Elyon." The fact is, however, that El was the head God of the Canaanite pantheon, and Melchizedek was, after all, a Canaanite.
Why should Abraham have had a problem with this? A god had shown up to him and said, "I am El Shaddai. Walk before me and be perfect."
El Shaddai did not tell Abraham that there were no other gods. He simply told Abram that he, El, would be Abram's God. When Abram met Melchizedek and Melchizedek met Abram, why shouldn't they both, as servants of El, the chief God of the many existing gods for both of them, feel favor for each other.
It would be bizarre if Melchizedek, a Canaanite priest, was monotheistic, when we know that El (Elyon attached to it just means something like "El the highest") was the chief God of the Canaanite pantheon.
Let me add that I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of El, an eternal being (in whatever way I might be able to understand eternal), and I am a worshipper of both Jesus (Yeshua is more accurate) and El/Yahweh. I believe that the Creator used both El and Yahweh as names in the past, although I don't think he's much interested in either now. So I am not speaking as an unbeliever.
However, facts are facts. Abraham could hardly have been a monotheist. That would have been very strange, considering what we are told about him.
Some sites that mention El as the head Canaanite deity are IIS 7.5 Detailed Error - 404.0 - Not Found and http://jf.org/papers/names.html. I don't know that either of these sites is real authoritative, but the second one is a Christian site, readily admitting what I've said. I think you can find references all over the place, as I had heard it many times before I looked at those sites. Probably a good Bible dictionary would mention it, too.

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amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 29 (39038)
05-05-2003 9:40 PM


I figured I had a mistake even before you posted that, I forgot that Israel shifted between monotheism and polytheism several times in Judges, which God repeatedly had to judge them for.

  
amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 29 (39039)
05-05-2003 10:02 PM


Could you clarify what you believe a little bit? I didn't quite get all you said. I looked up a link you set out, but I didn't get how that tied into there being more than One God/god.
Do you pray to several Gods/gods?

Replies to this message:
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truthlover
Member (Idle past 4086 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 20 of 29 (39047)
05-05-2003 11:30 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by amsmith986
05-05-2003 10:02 PM


The links I gave were simply to establish that El, the name God gave for himself when he introduced himself to Abraham, is the name of the head god of the Canaanite pantheon. I was simply trying to show that Melchizedek was not monotheistic, yet he and Abraham seemed to see eye to eye. It was to establish that Abraham himself was a polytheist, although he worshipped El alone.
I don't pray to several Gods. My explanation was unnecessarily complicated; I'm prone to that, sorry. I'm not your typical Christian, but I do believe in Christ and his Father and in obeying the commands of what is known as the New Testament. I was only trying to point out that I have no motive for insulting Abraham, who I would consider the father of my faith.

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amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 29 (39107)
05-06-2003 5:28 PM


What's a "typical" Christian?
Although the same name was used for the Canaanite god, this doesn't really show wether Melchizedek and Abraham believed in more than one God/god.
Also,when you read the Bible through a few times,the recurring(sp?)
picture is of one omnicsient,omnipresent,omnipotent God.
It is important to take the Bible as a whole,in context, in order to get a glimpse of the nature of God.

Replies to this message:
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 Message 27 by truthlover, posted 05-15-2003 1:47 AM amsmith986 has not replied

  
amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 29 (39113)
05-06-2003 6:06 PM


God may have been trying to communicate to Abraham on terms he would understand. Abraham came out of a polytheistic culture, and God may have been trying to show Abraham who he was by saying he was "God of all gods".
It is quite probable that Abraham was polytheistic to begin with,but that does not change what the Bible,as a whole, shows us of the nature of God.

Replies to this message:
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Peter
Member (Idle past 1506 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 23 of 29 (40047)
05-14-2003 6:35 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by amsmith986
05-02-2003 3:00 PM


Based upon what?
A quick re-read of Genesis and Exodus should point to
the opposite.
If the Jewish people were convinced of a single God
always, why did Abraham and Moses have to go to such lengths
to show their respective people's the error of their polytheistic
ways?

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Peter
Member (Idle past 1506 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 24 of 29 (40048)
05-14-2003 6:52 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by amsmith986
05-06-2003 5:28 PM


I'd have to question the omnipotent nature of the
biblical God.
He floods the earth when he could have 'disappeared'
mankind.
He has to rain plagues on Egypt to convince Pharoah to
let the Isrealites go ... when he could have just made Pharoah
do it, ot just zap them to their own land.
He couldn't even provide the Isrealites with their own lands
they had to take Canaan by force.
Hardly signs of omnipotence.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by amsmith986, posted 05-06-2003 5:28 PM amsmith986 has replied

Replies to this message:
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Peter
Member (Idle past 1506 days)
Posts: 2161
From: Cambridgeshire, UK.
Joined: 02-05-2002


Message 25 of 29 (40049)
05-14-2003 6:55 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by amsmith986
05-06-2003 6:06 PM


Doesn't the 'sense' of the Bible, though, suggest that
in the beginning the authors believed in the existence
of a number of gods, and that towards the end of OT
they believed in only one.
Doesn't that suggest that the bible is not the inerrant
word of god, but the errant word of man.
The message may well be valid ... that doesn't mean that every
word is the literal truth.

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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6351
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 26 of 29 (40146)
05-14-2003 8:13 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Peter
05-14-2003 6:52 AM


Peter writes:
quote:
He has to rain plagues on Egypt to convince Pharoah to
let the Isrealites go ... when he could have just made Pharoah
do it,
Don't forget that god deliberately made Pharaoh refuse by hardening his heart against Moses.
In other words, god manufactured the situation of escalating plagues leading to the killing of all the firstborn.
Why would god do that? If the goal was, indeed, to have the Israelites leave Egypt, why specifically make the political leader who would be of such great assistance in easing the burden of this shift become such a jerk that you have to kill his kid to get through to him that you really mean it?
------------------
Rrhain
WWJD? JWRTFM!

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truthlover
Member (Idle past 4086 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 27 of 29 (40180)
05-15-2003 1:47 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by amsmith986
05-06-2003 5:28 PM


quote:
Although the same name was used for the Canaanite god, this doesn't really show wether Melchizedek and Abraham believed in more than one God/god.
It doesn't really "show" it, but since we know that Melchizedek was a Canaanite, and since we know that El was the head of a Canaanite pantheon, isn't it logical to conclude that Melchizedek was a polytheist? And if Abraham was from Ur, a polytheistic city, and God had never told him to be a monotheist, and he gave tithes to a Canaanite priest, isn't it logical to conclude that they were both polytheists?
The only thing that could be said against that conclusion is:
quote:
Also,when you read the Bible through a few times,the recurring(sp?) picture is of one omnicsient,omnipresent,omnipotent God.
But this isn't true, at least not in Genesis. It's been pointed out repeatedly that the Bible becomes monotheistic later, but the Torah is hardly monotheistic, which is where the story of Abraham and Melchizedek is. So you have a priest from a polytheistic civilization, using the name of a head God of a pantheon, talking with Abram, from a polytheistic civilization, using the same name, in a book that is quite polytheistic. Why would you read monotheism into it?

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amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 29 (41986)
06-02-2003 11:42 PM


How does this reconcile with other portions of Scripture that refer to one supreme God?

  
amsmith986
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 29 (41988)
06-03-2003 12:12 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Peter
05-14-2003 6:52 AM


Yeah, I guess that would be hard for someone who created the universe.
I honestly do not know exactly why He chose to use those methods, but I do know that "His thoughts are higher than my thoughts".

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