There Are Many Gods- According To The Bible
Not too long ago a friend of mine was trying to share the gospel with some people he knew that weren’t Christians. One particular question they had for my friend was, “If there is a God or gods, how can you prove that your God is real while the gods of other religions are not?”
Having already done some research I came to an answer to this question. As Christians, we don’t need to prove that the gods of other religions aren’t real- because they are real.
Now before you deem me heretical for espousing this view, I’ll explain how the Bible proves this, as well as how the ancient Israelites understood this. The basis for this article is the fact that the Bible shows that the word “god” is a title, not a personal name.
Before we dive straight in to the analysis, take a look at the following verses (ESV)-
- Exodus 12:12- “For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord.
If the gods of Egypt do not exist, then why is the Lord executing judgements against them?
- Exodus 15:11- “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
If these other gods don’t exist, then this compliment isn’t that impressive, for it would be comparing a real God to imaginary/nonexistent beings.
- John 10:34-35- “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—”
In these verses we see that Jesus references an OT verse where God calls some other beings “gods.” Where is this OT verse? We find it in Psalm 82
- Psalm 82:1- “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:”
- Psalm 82:6- “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
From these two verses, we can see that the Lord is clearly telling some beings that they are gods, and we see that these gods are within the divine council. This council is not an earthly one, it is a heavenly one.
In verse 6 we see that God’s words to these gods are not too favorable. He tells them that they will die like men or like a prince. This clearly indicates that these gods are spiritual in nature.
So who are these other gods? They are spiritual beings that were assigned the title of “god”.
“wait wait wait wait wait,” you say. “Wouldn’t this be a polytheistic stance?” If the Bible acknowledges more gods than one, then how do we know which one to serve?”
There Is Only One Sovereign God
The Bible isn’t promoting polytheism even though it acknowledges multiple gods. And the reason for this is simple- there is only one Sovereign God. Meaning there is only one supreme God, a Lord of lords and a God of gods. And this Sovereign God is none other than the God of the Israelites, known to them by the Tetragrammaton YHWH- the “I AM”.
In fact, based on the verses above, it is this God who appointed the other beings their title of “god”. They’re essentially lowercase-g gods, while there is only one uppercase-g God.
God has his own personal names and titles which belong only to him. The confusion comes from the traditional view of only one God. The Bible never says that there is only one god. What it does in fact say is that there is only one Sovereign God, an important distinction to make.
The Gods Of Other Religions
Have you ever noticed the common denominator regarding the origin of many other famous religions? They all seem to be started by a revelation brought by either an angel, god, or goddess. For example, Moroni’s appearance to Joseph Smith, Gabriel’s appearance to Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, Gabriel’s appearance to Muhammad, Kwan Yin‘s (goddess) appearance to Buddha. They all seem to be related to the angel Gabriel’s news to Mary.
So, assuming that these visitations by other “gods” actually did happen, who were they? Well they would be none other than the gods described in the Bible. No wonder God condemns them to die like humans in Psalm 82, these gods certainly do seem like they are corrupt and want worship to themselves.
Based on what we have covered thus far, the ancient Israelites belief system might best be described as henotheistic. Henotheism is the worship of one god, while, at the same time not denying that other gods exist or may exist. Ancient Israelites clearly understood how there were multiple gods around stemming from the events of the Tower of Babel. While they acknowledged other gods, they (mostly) recognized God as the supreme authority over them, and all the other gods.
So to answer the original question posed in the intro paragraph, if confronted with the same question, I would answer this: “I can’t prove other gods don’t exist, because they actually do. There isn’t only one God, there is only one Sovereign God above all others.”
© 2019 Lou Tenant