The God of Gods

God: the all-purpose, irrefutable justification, especially
for hating and killing and feeling good about it.
-Thomas Szasz

The word "God" has no objective meaning. This explains why there have been so many religions throughout the ages. In this report I show that the God which we currently know as the only God of the universe was originally thought of as being one of many gods. If believers wish to accept the Bible as the word of God, then we have his own admission that he is not the only god.

Early religions were polytheistic. In the Bible, God started out as a Jewish tribal god. By the early first century BCE, the definition changed to a Jewish God of the universe. In the early centuries CE there were many schools of thought at odds with each other. Modern Christianity arose through the efforts to unify God under one secular authority. There is more politics to religion than meets the eye.

One could argue that the modern definition reflected a growing awareness among religious authorities that God was more encompassing than earlier thought. The counter to that argument is that by making the definition of God universal, it expanded Church authority. It is because the Church set itself as the medium for knowing about God, that it is, in effect, marketing itself.

Without God's minions campaigning on his behalf, he would have become a forgotten relic. God needs your support because the organizations behind him need your patronage. In effect, faith in God translates to faith in Church authority.

To make my point, what is wrong with this picture? God, the creator of the universe, the super-intelligent being who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and perfect in every way, can't get his message across without guidance from religious organizations.

In contrast, scientific discovery presents an opposing view of Nature as being devoid of any conscious activity. For argument's sake, if there was a creator God, his first laws have proven to be the inviolable laws of Nature. It is only within human imagination that such laws can be violated.

Polytheism

Joshua explains that Abraham's ancestors served other gods.

2And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. (Joshua 24:2)

Jeremiah notes that for as many cities there are gods.

28But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah. (Jer. 2:28)

In biblical days, it was a hard and fast rule for kingdoms to have their own god as a symbol of political prestige.

Elohim

The term Elohim is plural for god and is used 216 times in the Old Testament for "gods" and 2366 times for "God." The singular form of Elohim is Eloah and is used 55 times in place of "God." This mistranslation hides the pluralistic nature of the Hebrew god. To the Israelites, Elohim encompasses all supernatural beings: spirits, angels, demons, semi-gods and so forth. So whenever they appealed to Elohim, they were inferring the entire pantheon.

That these lesser beings are not gods is a matter of semantics. By pagan definition, they are all gods. For example, the Greek God, Mercury, was seen as a messenger god. To the ancient Jews, he would be the equivalent of an angel.

According to the Hebrew translation, there were many gods involved in creation. There was not one single god all by himself.

1In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1:1)

Gen. 1:2 explains the true meaning of Genesis 1:22, "Let us make man in our image."

26Then God [Elohim] said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." (Gen. 1:26)

We have evidence that many gods revealed themselves to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.

2And God [Elohim] said to Moses, "I am the LORD.
3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.(Ex. 6:2-3)

Only 216 or about ten percent of the time, Elohim is properly interpreted as gods.

11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, [Elohim] because he delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them." (Ex. 18:11)

A good example of how the English translations mislead can be found in Genesis 3:5. In the King James, the Serpent tells Eve she will be like the gods, knowing good from evil.

5For God [Elohim] doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods [Elohim], knowing good and evil. (Gen. 3:5 KJV)

Modern translations convert to the singular God to hide a critical embarrassment.

5For God [Elohim] knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God [Elohim], knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:5)

Out of 55 times when the singular form of God, eloah appears, it appears 40 times in the book of Job. God is never addressed directly as eloah. The term is always applied indirectly.

9By the breath of God [eloah] they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. (Job 4:9)

If there were no other gods, Yahweh would have no reason to be jealous.

14You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you;
15for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. (Deut. 6:14-15)

14(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), (Ex. 34:14)

God was so frustrated by the Israelites disloyalty that he grew to hate them. In reality, it was Jeremiah expressing his own hatred.

8My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest, she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her .(Jer. 12:8)

God of Israel

The term, God of Israel, appears almost 200 times in the Old Testament. Simply, the phrase, God of Israel, designates the name of a national god, not the god of the universe.

1Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'" (Ex. 5:1)

The God of Israel vows to enlarge the borders of Israel.

23Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.
24For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. (Ex. 34:23-24)

God of spirits

In this context, the God of spirits means the God of the dead.

16"Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, (Num. 27:16)

God of gods

We see some braggadocio here. The Israelites claim their God is the supreme God of all gods. There can be no denial here that the biblical world is infested with deities and demons. See Alien Gods and God's Pantheon.

17For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. (Deut. 10:17)

1God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: (Ps. 82:1)

2O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures for ever. (Ps. 136:2)

3O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures for ever; (Ps. 136:3)

Lord-Names of

In the Ancient Near East, a number of deities were known be several names. For example, the Babylonia deity Marduk had 50 names, the Egyptian deity Re had 74 names, and Osiris had 100 to 142 names. Such deities also had hidden or secret names known only by certain priests who knew the proper way to invoke them without offense. The second reason was that it was believed that these hidden names were believed to give the speakers access to and influence with-and sometimes magical powers-over the named.

7"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7)

This passage tells us about an Israelite woman who turned in her son to Moses for blaspheming God's name. We are not told what he said, but he was stoned to death shortly thereafter.

10Now an Israelite woman's son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman's son and a man of Israel quarreled in the camp,
11and the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. And they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.
12And they put him in custody, till the will of the LORD should be declared to them.
13And the LORD said to Moses,
14"Bring out of the camp him who cursed; and let all who heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
15And say to the people of Israel, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.
16He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him; the sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. (Lev. 24:10-16)

Yehovah or Yahweh

"Lord" translates to Yehovah over 6,400 times in the Old Testament. Yehovah was originally conceived of as a local weather God, responsible for rain and fertility. Yehovah is now translated to "Yahweh."

8Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub, and flew; he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him there broke through his clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare,
at thy rebuke, O LORD [Yehovah], at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. (Psalms 18:8-15)

It wasn't until the rise of the monarchy in Judah and Israel, did Yehovah rise to the status of a supreme god and universal weather god.

17For the LORD [Yehovah] your God [Elohim] is God [Elohim] of gods [Elohim] and Lord [Adon] of lords [Adon], the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. (Deut. 10:17)

5 For I know that the LORD [Yehovah] is great, and that our Lord [Adon] is above all gods [Elohim]. (Ps. 135:5)

Far from being friendly, ancients had to fear the Lord (Yahweh), who was more powerful than all the other deities.

10And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of you. (Deut. 28:10)

Jehovah

Jehovah can be found in the King James four times, translated from the Hebrew Yehovah. Other English versions typically translate to God. Yahweh is now the favored translation in place of Yehovah.

3And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. (Ex. 6:3 KJV)

18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. (Ps. 83:18, KJV)

2Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isa. 12:2, KJV)

4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: (Isa. 26:4, KJV)

Adonay

Lord translates to Adonay to denote the god of Israel. It is used 430 times in the Old Testament, with Ezekiel counting for over 200 times. Elsewhere, Lord is substituted for Yehovah over 6,400 times.

Adon

Lord translates to Adon 211 times.

3O give thanks to the Lord [Adon] of lords [Adon], for his steadfast love endures for ever; (Ps. 136:3)

Adonis originally meant lord, which is translated that way 211 times.

5For I know that the LORD [Yahweh] is great, and that our Lord [adon] is above all gods. (Ps. 135:5)

Lord of Hosts

The word "hosts" is a euphemism for the stars.

3Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. (1 Sam 1:3)

Who is the Creator?

To Jews, the one God of creation is Yahweh. To Christians, he is the Trinitarian God embodied in Jesus Christ. But according to Scripture, it is none of the above. In fact, both religions are as polytheistic as their pagan predecessors. Here is why.

The word God is not a proper noun such as John. With a capital G, it designates a title, like Mister or Sir. The same can be said of the word Lord. It is within these two title words, Lord and God, where the original definition is disguised by the translators.

In the ancient Near East all theistic religions believed in a supreme God who reigned above lesser gods; Judaism and Christianity were no exceptions. For example, to the ancient Egyptians, the supreme god was Ra. To the Greeks, he was Zeus. According to the pagan definition of all immortal beings as gods, Christianity is just as polytheistic. It is all a matter of semantics.

The question before us is what god or gods caused creation as defined by the first two verses of Genesis?

By mistranslating the true Hebrew name, Elohim, from the original texts for the generic name, God, readers are deceived into thinking of God as a singular entity. To repeat, the God of creation is not a Jewish or a Christian God. Elohim, in Hebrew means gods, spirits or lords. In the singular, it is El, meaning the supreme Canaanite god. Thus the early Hebrews worshipped the same God or gods as their heathen neighbors. So let's revise Gen. 1:1 to what it honestly says.

1In the beginning [the] God[s] created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)

The plurality of God gives true meaning to when the gods agreed to, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." If the gods made man in their image, then it stands to reason that the gods are in the image of men and women. Not some three headed ethereal freak as the Christian god seems to be portrayed.

26Then [the] God[s] said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; (Gen. 1:26)

In the English translations, the word that denotes Yahweh is Lord. Another term we see in Genesis 2 is Lord God, which means Yahweh Elohim or Yahweh of the gods. As events turn out, Yahweh is nothing but a mythological tribal God among others which the heathen Israelites worshipped.

Several passages tell us that Jews did not claim Yahweh as their only God; he was merely the supreme to other gods. Other statements attest to this fact. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, is made to say:

11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods. (Ex. 18:11)

Moses and the Israelites are credited with this next statement.

11Who is like thee, O LORD, among the gods? (Ex. 15:11)

In the passage below, Yahweh is the most fearsome among a council of gods.

6For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
7a God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him? (Psalms 89:6-7)

Even in the Ten Commandments, God recognizes the existence of other gods. There is a big difference between, "you shall have no other gods" verses "there are no other gods."

3"You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)

Bear in mind that Christianity is on even shakier grounds in maintaining the existence of only one God. First, by canonizing Jewish Scripture, the Christian Fathers gave recognition to Yahweh and the pantheon of lesser gods mentioned by name throughout the Old Testament.

The supreme God El has been traced to the Amorite kingdom of Ugarit, located in North Syria. He was known as the creator, the supreme authority in all matters human and divine, the father of gods and men.

Associated with El is the young male God, Baal, the storm god. Associated with El and Baal were two female figures, Ashera and Anath, goddesses of fertility. The Ugarit (Babylonian) myths also feature two adversaries of Baal, Yam, the sea, and Mot, the destructive power of drought and sterility. In another interesting parallel with the biblical sea monster Deep, Yam is personified as dragon, serpent and Leviathan, representing the forces of chaos.

The Canaanite influence on the early Hebrews can be found by tracing the origins of the Hebrew language. The father of Jews, Abraham is said to come from "Ur of the Chaldeans" (Gen. 11:31). It's a safe bet that the Chaldean Abraham was an ordinary idol-worshipping heathen Syrian who never heard of Yahweh. Additionally, the Chaldeans were known for their expertise in astrology.

31Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. (Gen. 11:31)

Abraham's son Jacob erected an altar to El of the gods.

20There he [Jacob] erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Gen. 33:20)

And El said to Jacob he is the supreme god of gods of his father.

3Then he said, "I am God [El], the God [Elohim] of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. (Gen. 46:3)

According to the appendix of the American Heritage Dictionary, the Hebrew language branched off from the Canaanite language. Abraham spoke the dialect of his region in the days when Canaan was under Egyptian domination. Even Isaiah admits to that fact.

18In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt which speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 19:18)

What kind of leader was the God of Abraham? Exodus 15:3 tells us he is, "the Lord is a man of war"-Yahweh is a war god. Drawing from Sarah and El, we get Israel, meaning a nation who worships a war god by the name of El. The marriage of Abraham and Sarah was the Bible's way of introducing the Jewish race by way of pun.

16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her; I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her. (Gen. 17:16)

Abraham is said to be married to Sarah (Gen. 17:15). Sarah comes from the Hebrew, Sar, meaning prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain.

Certainly, Yahweh was not the god of creation.

Instead, what we learn is that the Jewish Patriarchs and the Israelites were Chaldean (Babylonian) speaking heathens until the time of the Exodus when Moses was first introduced to Yahweh during the burning bush incident. The colloquy between God and Moses demonstrates that Moses never knew or heard of Yahweh when he lived in Egypt.

13Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" (Ex. 3:13)

Since Moses grew up in Egypt, it can be understandable that he never heard of Yahweh until this time. But in these next passages we find out that the Chosen People never heard of Yahweh either.

13Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" (Ex. 3:13)

Curiously, God tells Moses that his one true name is I AM, and it is to remain that way forever. As we shall see later, he gives Moses a different name.

14God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM WHO I AM has sent me to you.'"
15God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. (Ex. 3:14-15)

A case of pious mistranslation

Knowledgeable students of the Bible would probably agree with the above statements, arguing that God purposely did not reveal his true name before the time of Moses. In support, they cite Exodus 6:1-3, when God said he withheld his true name from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So let's examine.

2And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
3And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. (KJV, Ex. 6:2-3)

Modern revisions such as the Revised Standard Version, which I normally cite, substitute Lord for Jehovah. To clear up this name confusion, Jehovah comes about as the English translation for the Hebrew YHVH. Traditionally, vowels are inserted to make the consonants pronounceable interchangeably as Yahveh or Yahweh.

2And God said to Moses, "I am the LORD.
3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. (Ex. 6:2-3)

Now that we have positive affirmation that the true name of the one true God is known interchangeably as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yahveh or YHVH, it would be reasonable to expect any of these names to be used throughout the Old Testament. Almost none of the English translations do this.

In the Hebrew versions, the word Jehovah appears 6,528 times. In the King James Version, it can be found four times: Ex. 6:3, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4. It contains none of the other iterations. The English revision to follow the King James was the American Standard Version which contains Jehovah 5,763 times.

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven. (Gen. 2:4 ASV)

Throughout all English translations, the name for the Canaanite God pantheon, Elohim, appears 2366 times as God and 216 times as gods. The name for the Canaanite supreme God, El, appears 224 times in Hebrew, but nowhere in the English translations.

In conclusion, if the English translators stuck to the original god names, they would not be able to deceive their readers into believing that Judaism was always a monotheistic religion.

Was Jesus at the Beginning?

Three passages in the New Testament stand out as claiming Jesus was the same God of Creation.

John claims he was at the beginning with God.

1In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2He was in the beginning with God;
3all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

John has Jesus claiming he was "I am" in reference to God's name in Genesis 3:14. The following passage tells us his audience was so offended they threw stones at him. Jews never accepted him as their leader.

58Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
59So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple. (John 8:5-59)

Paul tells us Jesus was the Creator.

17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (1 Col. 1:17)

The Moody Handbook of Theology offers two Old Testament proofs to support the New Testament. But when we examine them, we see that they are taken out of context and don't refer to Jesus.

First, Micah predicts a child from Bethlehem Ephrathah will come forth as ruler of Israel to rescue him. So this can't be Jesus because he never ruled over Israel, and because Micah was dead hundreds of years before Jesus' time.

2But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)

Second, Isaiah tells us a child is born, meaning he was born during Isaiah's time, hundreds of years before Jesus.

6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6)

Final thought

This is only a sampling of how disconnected the Old Testament is from the New Testament. Christian apologists have no scruples about taking Old Testament Scripture out of context to "prove" that their Jesus is the same God of the Old Testament. Even the Old Testament is replete with errors, false translations and self contradictions. It can't even prove itself much less prove the false claims of the New Testament.

Further reading

An excellent book that covers the evolution in ideas about God from early biblical days to the twentieth century is entitled A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Although in my view a more accurate title would be, "A History of the Marketing of God."