2. The Biblical Concept of God Evolved from Polytheism to Monotheism

I am continuing to give my comments on chapters from the debate-book God or Godless? Confused? My first post introduces this process.

Neither the atheist nor the theist contests this point. The atheist points to words like Elohim (which the atheist claims is the plural of “God” in Hebrew, but a simple Google search reveals it to be both singular and plural—“God” is apparently an uncountable noun; we have so much God) and reference to the Canaanite God, El (or Elyon). Even the first commandment “thou shalt have no other Gods before me” is an admission to their being other Gods in the early works of the Bible. The Christian concedes this point immediately.

The Christian distinguish between polytheism, the belief in many gods; monolatry, the worship of one god, even if there are other gods; and monotheism, the belief in just one God. This evolution, contends the Christian, is akin to the evolution of geocentric thought (the belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe) to heliocentric thought (the idea that the sun is the centre of our solar system). And we don’t dismiss heliocentricism on the grounds that people once believed in geocentricism; much like the science, theology evolved.

The atheist says “God revealed himself in ways that are indistinguishable from not revealing himself at all.” But he never drills the issue home: religion is not science; religion is given to us by revelation and doesn’t evolve. God either is or is not (and that doesn’t change). God is either the first and the last, apart from Whom there is no God (Isaiah 44:6), or isn’t. But still God revealed to us a family of Gods and then isolated Himself; God created a narrative that looks like human fumbling when He could have been clear about the issue. How do we conclude God from that?

In science we know why we can occasionally ‘know’ things that are wrong; it is an entirely human process. The Christian focuses on theologians, and their journey to truth. But that means God revealed, to certain theologians, untruths.


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