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Old 01-29-2002, 01:02 AM   #31
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melon, again, I understand your reasoning, I've thought about similar things because there are gaps in the Old Testament...I'm continuing here only because I have Jewish (or Hebrew) blood and I have to say something here, even if my own biblical knowledge is very scant; practicing Jews could give you much more insight here...

your quote

"Do not make false gods for yourselves. You shall not erect an idol or a sacred pillar for yourselves, nor shall you set up a stone figure for worship in your land; for I, the LORD, am your God." -- Leviticus 26:1 "Your God" is not the same as "the God."

comes from the Pentatuach, yes, it's possessive, and I think here it is emphasizing God's commitment to a people who did not know him very well before...He is saying "as I helped you out of slavery in Egypt I am going to take care of you now."

I am looking in Genesis and I see "the Lord God" or simply "God" in most instances. For instance Genesis 2:4b "In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,"

I think the writers here believed in a single omnipotent God. "Lord" is a specialized form of the name for God and indicates such an understanding, I believe. Abraham (or Abram at the time) knew it was the Almighty speaking to him. God tells him in Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves." In Abraham's mind, and what the writer is showing, is that there is one God. Who else would know about all of this? It is quite a revelation and it marks the beginning of monotheism.

That's off the track of creation, but I wanted to respond because it has bearing on how you perceive the Genesis stories.

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Old 01-29-2002, 02:52 AM   #32
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Originally posted by melon:
The question here is not whether they worshipped more than one God, because they didn't. The Bible is more than enough record to show that they only worshipped one God. The question here is whether the perspective of the earliest books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, is written with the perspective that other gods existed and created their enemies around them, and, thus, if they believed that Yahweh only created them.
The thing is, yes, you can make the case that the Books of Law assumes its readers (the early Hebrews) were originally polytheistic. But that doesn't necessarily suggest that either the books or their writers subscribed to polytheism.

Think of it this way: a Christian missionary goes to a small island inhabited by polytheistic people. The way HE would convert them is to say that the God of Jesus is more powerful, more forgiving, etc., than "your gods."

That too does NOT imply the missionary himself believes those other gods exist.

More to the point, these other gods do not actually act in the Books of Law. God creates the entire universe; at least, everything that is created in Genesis is created by God, and man is not noted as an exception in the least.

In Exodus, God is a key figure - the actual foil to Pharoah, with Moses as the intermediary. Nowhere does the Egyptian "gods" actually DO ANYTHING.

I still think the argument's a bit of stretch.

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