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C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
If, by 'monotheism', one means something like Judeo-Christianity ... or even neo-Platonism ... then no, of course, it didn't "evolve socially". 'Monotheism' isn't "polytheism minus the poly". 'Monotheism' isn't some point on a common spectrum with 'polytheism' and 'henotheim' and 'atheism', The only commonality between 'monotheism' and 'polytheism' is the word 'God': (modern, weatern) 'atheism' and 'polythesim' have more in common (and, in fact, are essentially identical) than 'monotheism' has with either.
Very good points, Ilion. Contemporary culture worships many idols (read: gods (with a small "g")), such as ego, money, "toys" (gadgets, technology, cars, etc.), sports teams, partisan ideologies, celebrities (to include gnu celebs, such as Dawkins), "knowledge", violence and death. In fact, a pretty good list of such false gods can be found in Revelation 18:11-13.
That's all true, PL, but what I have in mind is even more fundamental.'Monotheism' starts with God. God IS; his existence/being is himself. That is, he is uncaused and non-contingent. God creates the Cosmos, God creates all that is non-God.The various polytheisms (Classical, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Germanic, etc) start with Chaos. Chaos is uncaused and non-contingent. Out of Chaos arises Cosmos, which gives birth to the rational beings called ‘the gods’, who make the rational beings called men.Western-style atheism – that is, the ‘atheism’ that is explicitly a rebellion against God as understood in Judeo-Christianity – starts with “Nothing”. “Nothing” is uncaused and non-contingent. Out of “Nothing” arises Cosmos, which gives birth to the rational beings called men.My point is that there is no substantive difference between ‘atheism’ and (most, if not all) ‘polytheisms’. The ‘atheists’ like to trick themselves out in “scientific” drag, but they’re making the same fundamental claims as the “superstitious” ancient pagans.My point is that when ‘atheists’ trot out that “I’m simply an atheist about one more god than you” foolishness, all they’re really doing is demonstrating their own ignorance … or intellectual dishonesty.
The various polytheisms (Classical, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Germanic, etc) start with Chaos.That would include the old testament, which clearly started out as polytheistic, where Yahweh was supposedly seen as the dominant among many gods, including rival gods, until eventually the Hebrews decided that he was the only god. But the old testament to this day contains many remnants of those polytheistic beliefs.
Ilion,You might be interested in this:http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2014/03/14/the-problem-with-yahweh-2/
im-skeptical,There is no "Problem with Yahweh" once one looks Jesus squarely in the face, and interprets everything he knows (or thinks he knows) about God in light of that Person. ("The Father and I are one.")Until you do that, nothing you say and any objection you raise has no relevance to me - none.Now if you've got a "problem" with Jesus, then bring it on, buddy! If not, you're wa-a-a-ay off target
"There is no "Problem with Yahweh" once one looks Jesus squarely in the face, and interprets everything he knows (or thinks he knows) about God in light of that Person. ("The Father and I are one.")"For that matter, I'm not so sure that Jehovah *is* the Father, rather than the Son. And, certainly, Elohim is the Son -- even the name Elohim -- "(he who is) lifted up" -- finds echo in the NT as a name of the Son.
Thanks, Ilion. I did not know that's what Elohim translated to. As for the rest of your post, a bit over my head. But there are hints in the New Testament that you may be on to something. St. Paul explicitly says that it was Christ who guided the Israelites through the wilderness, for instance.
The root of 'elohim' is most commonly regarded as meaning "strength" ... and from this the words for "oak" and "ram" and "mighty" and for "a god" and "the God".At the same time, the root can also refer to being lifted up, or exaltation. Thus, the phrase 'El Elyon' is generally translated "God Most High".The word 'elohim' is used to refer to the Living God, and to the 'gods' of the peoples, and to their idols, and to judges/magistrates ... and to the spirit or spirits that the Witch of Endor told Saul she saw rising up out of the earth when he went to her to "bring up" the spirit of Samuel.The word 'elohim' is masculine plural in form, but (in general) it is not plural in use ... any more than 'betulim', "virginity", is plural.'betulah', feminine singular: "a virgin"'betulot', feminine plural: "virgins"'betulim', masculine plural: "virginity" -- this is an abstract noun, not necessarily a plural nounLikewise, 'elohim' is an abstract noun, not necessarily a plural noun. A good translation of it would be "majesty"
If it were a plural noun, it would be an interesting hint at the Trinity in the OT (as when God refers to Himself as "We").
El is *usually* translated as "god", and Elohim can be the plural form, but it may also translated as "god".
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