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Other Gods

I had a discussion with a friend of mine once concerning whether or not there could be other gods, so I prepared this compilation/study for him.

DA 11:36 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. [37] He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. [38] Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. [39] He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.

1CO 8:4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

1CO 8:7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. [8] But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

To me it is clear that the bible admits that "there are many gods and many lords", but only one "God", as in the capital first letter. It is religious practice it seems to say "He" when referring to God, although this is not practised in the bible. I find that the capital letter used in the bible distinguishes the normal from that which comes from God, the all encompassing and sovereign force which brings all things together, hence the large letter to refer to that, such as perhaps the Father, the Holy Ghost, Spirit, Day etc. as opposed to spirit, my father, day etc. For me, the capital letter is like a unifying thing that encompasses all. For example, when we die, "dust goes to dust and the spirit returns back to the one who gave it", something like that. That tells me that our spirits come from the Spirit. The Spirit encompasses all spirits, God encompasses all gods, the Sovereign God, something like that.

JER 46:25 The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. [26] I will hand them over to those who seek their lives, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past," declares the LORD.

A search for "gods" in the bible yielded the following:

GE 31:19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods.

GE 31:31 Jacob answered Laban, "I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. [32] But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it." Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

GE 35:2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. [3] Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." [4] So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. [5] Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

It seems here that "gods" could represent idols.

EX 12:12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.

<How do you pass judgement on something which is made of metal and could in of itself not do anything?>

EX 15:11 "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
[11] Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly."

EX 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
[23] Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.

again, seeming like referring to idols.

EX 23:13 "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

EX 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."

LEV 19:4 " `Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

DT 4:7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

DT 4: [28] There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.

DT 7: [25] The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God.

<now it is speaking of the "images" of these gods, as in idols representing some gods...>

DT 10: [17] For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

DT 11: [28] the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

DT 12: [3] Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.

DT 17: [3] and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky,

DT 28:36 The LORD will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone.

DT 28:64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods--gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.

DT 32:17 They sacrificed to demons, which are not God--
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your fathers did not fear.

JDG 18:14 Then the five men who had spied out the land of Laish said to their brothers, "Do you know that one of these houses has an ephod, other household gods, a carved image and a cast idol? Now you know what to do.

JDG 18:24 He replied, "You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away.

PS 4:2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

PS 82:1 God presides in the great assembly;
he gives judgment among the "gods":

PS 82:6 "I said, `You are "gods";
you are all sons of the Most High.'

PS 86:8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

PS 95:3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
PS 96:4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
PS 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.

PS 106:28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;

PS 136:2 Give thanks to the God of gods.

<I would think for example it strange to consider God a God of idols...>

PS 138:1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing your praise.

ISA 21:9 Look, here comes a man in a chariot
with a team of horses.
And he gives back the answer:
`Babylon has fallen, has fallen!
All the images of its gods
lie shattered on the ground!' "

ISA 37:18 "It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. [19] They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.

ISA 41:23 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

ISA 42:17 But those who trust in idols,
who say to images, `You are our gods,'
will be turned back in utter shame.

ISA 45:20 "Gather together and come;
assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
who pray to gods that cannot save.

JER 2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory
for worthless idols.

JER 5:7 "Why should I forgive you?
Your children have forsaken me
and sworn by gods that are not gods.

JER 10:11 "Tell them this: `These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.' "

JER 16:19 O LORD, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth and say,
"Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good.
JER 16:20 Do men make their own gods?
Yes, but they are not gods!"

DA 2:10 The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. [11] What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."

DA 3:25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

DAN 4: [8] Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)

<This could be only their interpretation.>

DA 5: [4] As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

DA 5:22 "But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. [23] Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. [24] Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

JN 10:31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, [32] but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

JN 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

JN 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, `I have said you are gods' ? [35] If he called them `gods,' to whom the word of God came--and the Scripture cannot be broken-- [36] what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, `I am God's Son'?

GAL 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

So, after reading all this, I would say that it is in a way irrelevant. The bottom line is that you should serve and worship God and not another god, idol, demon, or whatever you want to call it. One of the lines referred to the gods as demons. Perhaps in GE 3:22 when, after Adam reached out and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and God said they became like "us", knowing both good and evil, he was referring to the himself and the angels, demons and other spiritual entities.

My final synopsis is that perhaps we could refer to heavenly beings or even objects as a god. Perhaps in this sense other gods exist. After all, a demon has power to harm a person?s life, so we could argue that these gods actually have some power. On the other hand, "Satan is a punishing rod in the hand of God". Also, some people may have been possessed by a demon in Christ?s time on purpose to reveal God?s glory through the miracles that Christ showed. Therefore, any power seemingly displayed by a demon or spiritual entity may have been ordained so by the "Sovereign" God.

Therefore, in the end, these discussions of whether there are or are not other gods could be quite irrelevant in that the bottom line is that we should be focusing our thoughts and energies on serving God, where arguing about such trivial points would just be distracting us from doing so.



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