How Many Gods?

informal poll. Please answer the question:
How many gods are there? One? Three? A multitude? Add your own answer.

Give a number and state your church affiliation. Feel free to give as much nuance as you feel necessary.

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80 thoughts on “How Many Gods?

  1. “I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.” – LORD (Y@hovah), from Isaiah 43

    “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (Psalm 82) If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is] in me, and I in him.” – Jesus (Christ), from John 10

    “I and [my] Father are one.” – again, John 10

    “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him…. the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – from John 14

    “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost…. thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” – Acts 5:3,4

    There you go. Some people describe the counsel of the scriptures as “one God in three persons,” “Triune God,” or “Trinity.” I prefer to accept the scripture as it is written without trying to propound an explanation in my own words and vocabulary as canonical doctrine.

    Since the post is tagged with LDS and Mormon(ism), I would offer the following explanation of their doctrine. All LDS who have been endowed in the temple ceremony have chosen to follow the serpent Satan, whom they call Lucifer. They have put on the green apron that symbolized Satan’s power and authority and have committed themselves to his deception, “Ye shall be as Gods.”

    Jesus says of them, “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

    And we know that no liar shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

    “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”

    Amen, amen, the Lord shall say to them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

    Now this is what the Lord says concerning those evil, wicked, and abominable who hate him and love Satan:

    “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Amen, amen, the Lord is not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance. That’s right: “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.”

    “God commended his love toward us [believers] in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The Lord’s salvation is not that wicked men can be eternally preserved as they are in their transgressions, but it is that men can be begotten again and made new creatures that know Jesus Christ and who glorify God by his power that works in them. This is eternal life. Christ died for us so that we would not have to remain in sin. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

    Christ was wounded for our transgressions, he bore our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and he who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. But the doctrine of Christ to which we are adjured to abide in requires repentance. There is no salvation without repentance. Jesus said he came not for the righteous but to call sinners to repentance and, “unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”

  2. I’m contemplating asking people to refrain from debate on this one. I recognize that Ben’s comment may make that an unreasonable request.

    Just try to make room for simple answers to the OP.

  3. I worship my Heavenly Father AND His son Jesus Christ, AND the Holy Ghost (3) Latter Day Saint :)

  4. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, – I Tim. 2:5

    “This is eternal life, that they may know You (the Father, see v.1), the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. – John 17:3

    There is only one God, the Father. Jesus is the Messiah and the Holy Spirit is the power of God working in the world and in the life of the believer.

    - Victor (Christian – No denominational affiliation)

  5. OK, I’m sorry, Tim… I can’t refrain. :) (Would you expect any less of me though?)

    Ben, you were completely offensive and out of line. If you had read anything about this blog at all, you’d know that it is meant to be a respectful discussion between Evangelicals and LDS (and people like me who barge into the conversation…).

    I won’t grace any of your comments with a response except to say that you are totally wrong and clearly don’t know what you are talking about or anything about the religion about which you are speaking. And spreading hate and lies like you are doing is just disgusting, offensive, mean spirited, and incredibly not in line with Christ’s teachings.

  6. Sorry, that was me. Kullervo hijacked my computer again!

    Also, to answer the original question…

    1 or 3, depending on how/if you separate the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (which I don’t know and don’t think that the scriptures totally clarify). And I am a Christian. Currently attending Episcopal church, but probably actually not really denominational. :)

  7. Here’s the real Kullervo.

    I’m inclined to think that when talking about something so big, so completely out of our experience and so utterly beyond any possible frame of reference that we could ever hope to have, that number is laughably irrelevant.

    I think saying there is “one God” is as close as we can get to understanding this, but I think whenever we talk about God we should do so with the critical caveat that honestly, God is something that we can’t fully express or understand, and our words and constructs are probably woefully inadequate when we try to apply them to Him.

    So when I say I believe in “one God,” I don’t mean it the same way I would mean one anything else, because if God exists, God seems to be something completely unique (again, but not “unique” in the same sense that anything we have ever encountered has ever been unique).

    And again, when we try to apply our mental constructs to something completely outside (and inexpressibly greater than) our experience, we’re going to inevitably fall short, and paint a picture of a god that is much smaller and more limited than the real Supreme Being actually is.

    So I say there is one God, but I say it carefully.

    And I’m an ex-Mormon Christian (more like “person who finds Jesus Christ simply too compelling to set aside”) who’s leaning in an Anglican direction these days.

  8. One, and only one, God, manifested in the Bible as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 1 God, in 3 Persons (and yes, I do believe Scripture is quite clear on that).

    Southern Baptist.

  9. Brad,

    “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

    Exalted by God? I thought they always co-existed? And the Glory apparently to the Father, even though they are equals?

    “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
    Matt 28:18

    By who?

    “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you ‘ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
    John 14:28

    The Father greater than the Son? But haven’t they always existed equally as God?

    I don’t post these to antagonize you in any way, and appologize for any condescention in the tone of my questioning. But you made the claim that the scriptures are pretty clear on this point. I post only to show that it is not so clear as you claim. At least the scriptures relating to the nature of God and Christ can reasonably be interpreted differently than you interpret them, saying nothing of who might me interpreting them correctly.

    To answer the original post, I worship One God, the Father, the creator of the universe and everything in it, in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, the “God of the old Testament”, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who ascended to Godhood as an heir to his Fathers kingdom, and commune with the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Comfortor.

  10. I worship God the Father. Any worship that I direct toward Christ is solely inasmuch as he is a conduit to the Father. This follows the pattern he laid out during his mortal life – where he CONSTANTLY deferred to his Father and claimed no glory or merit for himself.

    Reverence, on the other hand, I feel safe in directing toward Christ on his own merit and holiness.

    By Christ’s own instructions, Christ is not the object of my worship.

  11. I worship ONE God, yes one God the Father…

    (LDS…sort of) long story… I agree with Seth R on this one.

  12. Frofreak, I believe you have to interpret any passage in the Bible in light of the ENTIRE Bible, not just specific verses, otherwise the entire Bible would be contradictory in parts. What about the following verses?

    #1 The Father is God (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:17, Isaiah 64:8)

    #2 The Son is God (John 1:1-3; John 20:28; John 10:30; Hebrews 1:8)

    #3 The Spirit is God (Job 33:4; Job 26:13; Acts 5:3,4)

    ……….. but………….

    #4 There is only ONE God (Deut 4:35;Deut 6:4; II Sam 7:22; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:8; Mark 12:32; Gal 3:20; 1 Tim 2:5)

    As I said, I believe the Bible is VERY specific on this, for those who are not pre-disposed to believe a different teaching and interpret the Bible through the lens of that teaching. It is crystal clear that there is but ONE GOD in 3 PERSONS, but not different gods (capital or lowercase g, however you wish to frame it). To teach different is not simply to interpret the Bible “differently”, it is to interpret the Bible “incorrectly.” We can’t forget that when on Earth, Jesus had a 2nd nature, that of a man; He was fully human, yet fully God. You must be extremely careful to interpret His gospel sayings in light of this dual nature.

  13. I recognize one central source of Love – a great “Central Sun.” But I also believe this Love manifests in our individual psyches in whatever form(s) are necessary to best aid us in our time on Earth: God, Jesus, Allah, or any of the Gods and/or Goddesses of Old.

    I’m not affiliated with any organized religion.

  14. Brad,

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one :)

    Those scriptures you cite fit perfectly into my interpretation of the nature of God from an LDS perspective, just as the scriptures I cited fit fine into your interpretation of his nature. This only proves my point. My understanding of Gods true nature is no more based just on a few verses than yours is. In fact, I agree with you, that “you have to interpret any passage in the Bible in light of the ENTIRE Bible, not just specific verses”. Problem is, in doing that, I still come to a different conclusion about his nature than you do.

    You also said “I believe the Bible is VERY specific on this, for those who are not pre-disposed to believe a different teaching and interpret the Bible through the lens of that teaching”. IMO, it is rather naive of you to believe that somehow you are immune to this. That you don’t see or “interpret” bible truths through any “lens”. Your tradition is one originating at the Nicean Council, mine stems from a vision in 1820. We are equally affected by our traditions, and view the scriptures through this lens. But don’t pretend that the doctrine of the Trinity is unquestionably biblical in origin (meaning that it is the only reasonable biblical interpretation). If it was, there would have been no council in the first place. There were other reasonable interpretations at the time, and there still are today, since the Bible hasn’t changed. What has changed is that now the Christian church at large has almost 2000 years of tradition teaching this once controversial teaching, so now it is accepted as the ONLY interpretation.

    You believe that your interpretation of the Bible is correct. I’m glad you do, I would question why you belong to your faith if you didn’t. But here’s the kicker–I do too (mine, that is). And I can defend my position biblically as well as you can. You may not agree with my interpretation, but as long as you are going to insist on the infalibility, inerrancy, and absolute completeness, you should at least consider that you interpretation of it is not infalible, inerrant, and far from perfect.

  15. That should be “insist on the infalibility, inerrancy, and absolute completeness OF THE BIBLE”

    I’m sure you undertood anyway.

  16. First, to Brad,

    If you’re going to use the “ENTIRE Bible, not just specific verses”, you can’t forget verses like Deuteronomy 10:17:

    “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty”

    Tim,

    In answer to your question, there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6), and He is the God over many “gods” (Deut 10:17), and He is even said to be the very God and Father of Jesus Christ (John 20:17, Rom 15:6, 1 Cor 11:3, 2 Cor 11:31, Eph 1:3, Eph 1:17; Heb 1:8-9, 1 Pet 1:3, Rev 3:12), making Jesus to be eternally subject unto Him (1 Cor 15:28).

    So there is one Supreme God over all (including Jesus Christ), but many “gods” who are subject to Him.

  17. Frofreak,

    You are right, we will have to agree to disagree. I believe your interpretations to be dead wrong, and your reasons to support your interpretations to be faulty. As you believe with me and mine. I’m OK with that.

    But since we believe different, know this: one of us is wrong. If it’s me (and if Mormonism is correct), then I’ll still go to heaven, just a lower level. But if it’s you (and if Mormonism is incorrect), then I go to heaven, but you go to hell.

    Based on that scenario, I’m in a win-win, but you have everything (potentially) to lose. I’ll stick with mine.

  18. Based on the evangelical view, I’ll see Mahatma Ghandi in hell right along with me, so apparently, I’ll be in good company.

    But that’s another thread.

  19. Along those lines, then, here’s a couple questions:

    1) Is there such a thing as absolute truth?
    2) If you believe so, is it knowable?

    Just curious.

  20. Brad,

    Problem is, as many on this site have supported (yes evangelicals as well), my “being saved” or going to heaven does not depend on whether or not I believe in the exact nature of God that is accepted my mainstream christianity, i.e the Holy Trinity. It depends on my faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as my savior, and in his saving grace and atonement, as well as faith in his divinity. I consider myself covered on all counts. So I am “saved”. See you in heaven :)

    To answer your question, yes, there is absolute truth, and is definitely knowable. God knows and understands absolute truth. I don’t, and will not in this life. Do you?

    As far as you going to heaven and me going to hell, are you SURE? Absolutely SURE? On both accounts? I will leave these things up to Jesus Christ to judge whether or not I qualify for slavation, whether or not I am truely “Christian”. May I suggest you do the same?

  21. If you’re going to use the “ENTIRE Bible, not just specific verses”, you can’t forget verses like Deuteronomy 10:17:

    “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty”

    That’s fine, but take all the other verses that describe all those other gods as FALSE gods. That would mean Jesus and anyone else exalted to godhood is a false god.

  22. 1) Is there such a thing as absolute truth?
    2) If you believe so, is it knowable?

    1) I’d like to think so, but I suspect there isn’t. However, let me qualify that statement, because I’m not necessarily delving into the wishy-washy postmodern (or rather modernist contrarian) waters of total absolute relativism. I think our ideas about things like “absoluteness” are inherently faulty and flawed, like crude sketches of the greater reality that aren;t to be confused with reality itself. I think the universe is probably more complex than we can wrap human-made philosophical concepts around and ever expect to “get it right.” That being said, in many ways relying on absolute truth, even if our idea of what “absolute truth” means is inadequate to describe real reality, is practical. So there’s a point to it. At the same time, in many ways absolute truth is practically nonexistent except as a philosophical construct, so it’s not the kind of thing to use as a crutch too much.

    2) Probably not by us, but what do I know?

    In any case, I accept the possibility that “absolute truth” the way we imagine and philosophize it may be (and almost certainly is) woefully distorted. And that in no way threatens my belief in God or faith in Jesus Christ. So there.

  23. Pingback: Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Whom Do We Worship Anyway? » Whom Do We Worship Anyway?

  24. “Problem is, as many on this site have supported (yes evangelicals as well), my “being saved” or going to heaven does not depend on whether or not I believe in the exact nature of God that is accepted my mainstream christianity, i.e the Holy Trinity. It depends on my faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as my savior, and in his saving grace and atonement, as well as faith in his divinity. I consider myself covered on all counts. So I am “saved”. See you in heaven” (Frofreak)

    Frofreak, I would disagree (I know this shocks you). Salvation depends on our faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, in His saving grace and atonement, as well as faith in His divinity. Because of that, by definition it MUST include belief in the correct Jesus. If person A says they believe in “Jesus Christ” as savior (who they believe to be a fish) and person B says they believe in “Jesus Christ” as savior (who they believe to be simply a human) and person C says they believe in “Jesus Christ” as savior (who is fully God, the Savior of the world), are they all “saved”, since they all acknowledge “Jesus Christ” as savior, even if they don’t all agree on the generally accepted nature of God? I would say no. What would you say?

    We can’t just say “well, I believe that Jesus Christ is X”, define Him for ourselves, profess belief in Him, and consider ourselves saved. That only works if the Christ we are professing as Savior is the same Christ as defined clearly in the Bible. If it’s not, then it’s a false salvation.

    “To answer your question, yes, there is absolute truth, and is definitely knowable. God knows and understands absolute truth. I don’t, and will not in this life. Do you?”
    (Frofreak)

    But in your opinion, who knows it? You seem to imply that only God can know absolute truth – is that what you believe? I don’t profess to know everything, but I do say that there are absolute truths that I do know to be true, truths that anyone can know.

    “As far as you going to heaven and me going to hell, are you SURE? Absolutely SURE? On both accounts? I will leave these things up to Jesus Christ to judge whether or not I qualify for slavation, whether or not I am truely “Christian”. May I suggest you do the same?” (Frofreak)

    I am ABSOLUTELY SURE I am going to heaven, beyond question. And I NEVER said you were going to hell – I don’t make that decision. Technically, YOU do, b/c it is YOUR decision that determines your fate. God only grants us our decision to either be with Him or without Him at Judgment – He doesn’t go against our wishes.

  25. Brad, I don’t want to go to a heaven that you describe–one where only people who were born into the right church at the right time could get into. God, being all-knowing–must know of the people who will be born into countries and families that will refuse to teach about Jesus Christ, and will teach hatred of Him. Why would God put people into those families, knowing that he’s condemning them to eternal hell for not having learned better?

    I also don’t want to go to a heaven where someone like me, a person who is doing my best to follow Jesus Christ, but who may get it wrong in some ways or areas, based on unclear translations, etc., would be excluded because I didn’t circle the right answer in the Heaven Test.

    The Jesus Christ that I affiliate myself with is much more concerned with people who become transformed by Him–who become the new person, showing affiliation by word, deed, and attitude.

    If there is a test to get into heaven that tests me on whether I knew things exactly correctly, I’ll probably fail. If it’s a test on whether my heart was in the right place… I stand a much better chance. And that’s the heaven I want to go to. (And, for the record, I am sure that some evangelicals and some Mormons will be there, drinking root beer together. :))

  26. Katy,

    To answer for Brad, I don’t think it’s a concern about someone misunderstanding or being confused that would deny them a place in Heaven. It’s a willful rejection of who Christ claims to be.

    I agree that there is no theology test to get into Heaven (though theology is important).

    This is totally off topic, but as far as I’m concerned if God were a total prick and was cruel and vindictive (which thankfully He is not), I would still worship him. I think we would be obligated to acknowledge his role as our creator and give him due worship (and do whatever we can not to piss him off). I’m not so interested in picking the nicest God, I feel I need to worship the True God (even if I don’t like him). If I were to just pick a God that I like, I’d come up with something much more controllable and affable to my whims than the God of the Bible.

  27. This is totally off topic, but as far as I’m concerned if God were a total prick and was cruel and vindictive (which thankfully He is not), I would still worship him. I think we would be obligated to acknowledge his role as our creator and give him due worship (and do whatever we can not to piss him off).

    And here you definitely lose me. If God isn’t worthy of our worship, we shouldn’t worship him.

    And I definitely don’t think that creator status = worthy of worship.

  28. Brad,

    “That only works if the Christ we are professing as Savior is the same Christ as defined clearly in the Bible. If it’s not, then it’s a false salvation.”

    The Christ I worship IS the Christ clearly defined in the Bible. What Bible are you reading? You still can’t see the problem that arises from trying to answer all of the questions regarding his nature with the Bible alone?

    And please lay off the fish-christ analogies. Besides being a tired, over-used evangelical defense of justifying a blanket condemnation for all “others” who profess a belief in and descipleship of Jesus Christ, it is a pathetic attempt to invalidate my beliefs as silly and inconsequential.

    “But in your opinion, who knows it? You seem to imply that only God can know absolute truth – is that what you believe? I don’t profess to know everything, but I do say that there are absolute truths that I do know to be true, truths that anyone can know.”

    I guess you better define your parameters first before asking questions. You don’t have absolute truth. You may claim to understand 1 or 2 truths absolutely (still extremely arrogant, IMO), but you are far from understanding all truth absolutely (which is my definition of absolute truth). God does. And unlike you, I believe that one day we all will, as we eternally progress in knowledge and glory.

    “And I NEVER said you were going to hell – I don’t make that decision”

    Actually, you did.

    “But since we believe different, know this: one of us is wrong. If it’s me (and if Mormonism is correct), then I’ll still go to heaven, just a lower level. But if it’s you (and if Mormonism is incorrect), then I go to heaven, but you go to hell.”

  29. So, Tim, if I, using my best judgment, interpret Christ to be the Jesus Christ described by the Mormon church, then you think I’ll go to heaven. :) I honestly don’t think that it’s clear either way (which is also why I don’t think that it’s actually that important… as opposed to, say, love your neighbor as yourself, which was made crystal clear, through both direct speech and example).

    And I’m with Kullervo–just because someone made me doesn’t mean they’re worthy of my worship.

  30. In response to Deuteronomy 10:17 (which says God is “God of gods”), Tim said:

    That’s fine, but take all the other verses that describe all those other gods as FALSE gods. That would mean Jesus and anyone else exalted to godhood is a false god.

    Tim, I’m not aware of any verses in the Bible that “describe all those other gods as FALSE gods”. Perhaps you could help me out here.

    Certainly we know that there is one “true God”, but it would be implementing the logical fallacy of a false dichotomy to take this to mean that all other “gods” are false gods, because that simply isn’t the only other logical possibility. For example, each of us here on earth has one set of genetic parents (a mom and dad). They might be said to be our only “true parents”. But if our “true parents” put us up for adoption and another couple adopts us, it doesn’t mean that we have “false parents”. They are our adoptive parents. And what about all the other parents in the world? They are not “false parents”. They are simply not our parents.

    I know the Bible does make statements against graven images (idols). In fact, the Bible seems to say that idols are not really gods at all, “they be no gods, which are made with hands” (Acts 19:26), and “idols” are “nothing in the world” (1 Cor 8:4), and “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” (Galatians 4:8). But this in no way suggests that all other gods are false gods.

    As for Deuteronomy 10:17 (which says that God is “God of gods”), I think your interpretation of this verse is highly problematic. If you assume these “gods” to be false gods, then it makes God out to be a God of false gods. This is like saying that God is the God of Zeus or Baal. Or worse yet, since the Bible says these kinds of “gods” are “nothing”, and are not really gods at all, reading “false gods” into Deut 10:17 would mean that God is the God of nothing. Anyone or anything can be supreme over false gods, because they don’t exist, they are fictional, they are imaginary, and have no power.

    So it seems to me that the only reasonable interpretation of Deut 10:17 is that these “gods” over whom God is the God are gods that truly exist. Otherwise it makes no sense at all.

  31. So, Tim, if I, using my best judgment, interpret Christ to be the Jesus Christ described by the Mormon church, then you think I’ll go to heaven. :)

    you know I defer making that judgement, but yes I think there will be LDS in heaven. I also think there will be many Protestants who won’t be there.

  32. My understanding was that Tim’s read on Deuteronomy 10:17 is one of the POSSIBLE readings of “eloheim” or “gods.” But not the only one. Or maybe I’m thinking of that verse in Psalms…

  33. “Brad, I don’t want to go to a heaven that you describe–one where only people who were born into the right church at the right time could get into. God, being all-knowing–must know of the people who will be born into countries and families that will refuse to teach about Jesus Christ, and will teach hatred of Him. Why would God put people into those families, knowing that he’s condemning them to eternal hell for not having learned better?” (Katyjane)

    Katyjane, your entire post sums up some of the biggest misconceptions that people have about God and Christianity. You assume that people are “born into the right church at the right time.” To say that negates free will, and negates the power that God has to draw all men unto Himself through the Holy Spirit. You summed it up well when you said that there are some countries who “will refuse to teach about Jesus Christ.” Exactly – they REFUSE to; it’s not that they’re unable to, they CHOOSE not to. God doesn’t condemn anyone to hell from birth – to do so would mean that we really don’t have free will, and that acceptance of Christ as Savior is not a choice that we even have, which negates half of the Bible! Reread Romans 1:18-20; everyone has an opportunity to come to salvation, based upon the light that is given to them, for God can be clearly seen, if only in what is created.

    Nobody is excluded from Heaven for not being able to answer enough questions correctly on a test. That isn’t even close to what I’m saying. But we do have to be worshiping and believing in the “correct” Jesus, and there are many denominations who simply don’t have that essential correct.

    It really doesn’t matter what “Jesus” we WANT to affiliate ourselves with – it matters if we affiliate ourselves with the “correct” Jesus, as described in the Bible, God the Son, who came to Earth as Jesus Christ to die for our sins.

  34. Tim #38 – good post, that is more along the lines of what I meant. I think you highlight a good point – whether God is actually what WE want Him to be or not, doesn’t really matter. HE IS GOD, and is therefore worthy of our worship.

  35. So if it turns out that God prefers that women be raped and children be abused, but was misinterpreted when written about in the Bible–you’d worship him?

    I wouldn’t.

  36. “And here you definitely lose me. If God isn’t worthy of our worship, we shouldn’t worship him.

    And I definitely don’t think that creator status = worthy of worship.” (Kullervo)

    But Kullervo, why do YOU get to decide who is worthy of worship, and who isn’t? You’re not God. What’s the “standard” for deciding who is and who isn’t worthy of our worship? That’s putting us a little higher than we really are, in the eternal aspect, I think.

  37. Brad, Tim: “whether God is actually what WE want Him to be or not, doesn’t really matter. HE IS GOD, and is therefore worthy of our worship.”

    “if God were a total prick… I would still worship him. I think we would be obligated to acknowledge his role as our creator and give him due worship”

    Others have already weighed in against this idea, but I have to voice my thoughts too. What is it about God that makes him God? Tim and Brad seem to focus on his role as creator as being the single most important factor. I think others here (including myself) feel rather that it is God’s goodness that makes him God.

    It fundamentally comes down to what we mean by worship: if it means “fear, bow down to, and offer sacrifices to,” then I conceded that it is possible to worship a cruel and uncaring, yet powerful and creative, God. But our God has said that those forms of “worship” aren’t really what he wants (Isaiah 1:11). Rather, he wants a broken spirit (Psalm 51), and all that other stuff is merely to help us do that.

  38. “The Christ I worship IS the Christ clearly defined in the Bible. What Bible are you reading? You still can’t see the problem that arises from trying to answer all of the questions regarding his nature with the Bible alone?” (Frofreak)

    I’m reading the NIV version. And I will say this – if you don’t believe that Christ is equally God (and there is only 1 God), then you do not believe in the Christ as clearly defined in the Bible, b/c that’s how He defines Himself in the Bible. And what ELSE, other than the Bible, would one use to answer questions about Him, since the Bible is His Word? There is no where else we should be looking!

    “And please lay off the fish-christ analogies. Besides being a tired, over-used evangelical defense of justifying a blanket condemnation for all “others” who profess a belief in and descipleship of Jesus Christ, it is a pathetic attempt to invalidate my beliefs as silly and inconsequential.” (Frofreak)

    It doesn’t “justify” anything, but it is a good example of how different people have differing views of Christ’s nature, yet they all say they worship “Christ”, but some are mistaken. You can call them anything you wish – tired, over-used, etc…, but it’s true.

    “I guess you better define your parameters first before asking questions. You don’t have absolute truth. You may claim to understand 1 or 2 truths absolutely (still extremely arrogant, IMO), but you are far from understanding all truth absolutely (which is my definition of absolute truth). God does. And unlike you, I believe that one day we all will, as we eternally progress in knowledge and glory.” (Frofreak)

    I didn’t say I understand everything, but I do know some truths to be absolutely true, as we all can. 2+2=4. It’s an absolute, and I know it, and anyone can know it. It won’t change. I never said I understand all truth absolutely. Does God now? Yes. And the nature of God is an absolute truth, b/c it is true no matter whether we believe it or not.

    “Actually, you did. ‘But since we believe different, know this: one of us is wrong. If it’s me (and if Mormonism is correct), then I’ll still go to heaven, just a lower level. But if it’s you (and if Mormonism is incorrect), then I go to heaven, but you go to hell.’” (Frofreak)

    What I said was that IF you’re wrong about your beliefs, and IF I’m right, and IF you continue in the same beliefs, then based on what the Bible says about what it takes to get to Heaven, then you would. I haven’t condemned you already, b/c I can’t condemn anyone. Be sure of that.

  39. And any quoting of Deut 10:17 should include verse 18:

    17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe

    18 who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing.

    Note how it points to God’s goodness as an essential attribute (not to mention that both verses are in the greater context of Israel’s deliverance—God is God because he saves)

  40. Katyjane, the Bible DOESN’T say those things, and it is clear, so there is no misinterpretation of it. Can’t really use that argument.

    Your point still gets around to, though, whether there is any criteria for God to get our worship, so you’re still at the crossroads of needing to define some criteria for whether he deserves our worship. Is it only if He doesn’t advocate what we don’t advocate? Is it only if He does advocate what we advocate? What is it? B/c either there is, or isn’t, criteria for us to worship Him. I believe it is b/c He is God, and we don’t need any other reason.

  41. “Others have already weighed in against this idea, but I have to voice my thoughts too. What is it about God that makes him God? Tim and Brad seem to focus on his role as creator as being the single most important factor. I think others here (including myself) feel rather that it is God’s goodness that makes him God.” (Brian J)

    Actually, Brian, I said that God is worthy of our worship b/c HE IS GOD. The fact that He created everything doesn’t really give me more or less reason to worship Him. I worship Him, and have a relationship with Him, b/c HE IS GOD. I don’t need another reason, or a justification for it, or any other criteria.

    What is it about God that makes Him God? It is the fact that HE IS GOD. We try so hard, as humans, to try and put Him in a box and understand Him, to give reasons why we should or shouldn’t follow Him, but we really just elevate ourselves in the process, to some decision-making body that gets to determine whether we worship Him or not. We don’t have that option, or right.

    Is God good? Yes. But is that what “makes” Him God? No. He is God, simply b/c HE IS GOD.

  42. So, Brad, if a country refuses to let its citizens know about Jesus, then those citizens have an equal shot of learning about Jesus than, say, someone born in the US to a practicing religious family? I don’t think so. And if they do learn about Jesus, they won’t be learning good stuff. And while it is possible for some people to overcome that, it is still a matter of God knowing that these people are going to be brought up in this environment, with very little chance at redemption.

    Again, that’s not the God that I know.

    How does it work? I don’t know. I am sure that there must be a way; I do believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. So, if people are not capable of learning of Jesus in such a way as to give them the chance to develop the necessary relationship with Him, then God has some way of getting around that. I don’t know what that way is. But I don’t–I can’t–believe that those people are going to hell.
    Actually, I don’t really believe in hell in terms of the fire and brimstone, gnashing of teeth, etc.–at least not in a literal sense. I don’t think it makes sense that there is anything that I can do in my finite period of time on earth to warrant an infinite punishment, except for possibly knowing that God is, and really knowing–and denying Him and His help. Even then, I don’t think that infinite punishment makes sense.

  43. Again, Katyjane, your arguments are all centered around what YOU think makes sense. If YOU don’t think it makes sense, then YOU don’t believe it to be true. Why even read or follow the Bible, then? Why not just follow yourself?

    You almost answer your own question in your statement “if people are not capable of learning of Jesus in such a way as to give them the chance to develop the necessary relationship with Him, then god has some way of getting around that.” Yes, I believe this, as well. Which fits in perfectly with Romans 1:18-20, b/c that truly does leave men WITHOUT EXCUSE, since God WILL make some way. I don’t believe anyone goes to hell for not knowing OF God, b/c in some way, according to Rom. 1:18-20, all have enough light. But if you read the rest of Romans 1, and Romans 2, you see that men often suppress the truth due to their own wickedness. That’s not something anyone ever likes to talk about, b/c it puts the blame on US, rather than on God, and nobody likes to think of themselves as being “bound’ by any rules or laws.

    And then look at your statement on hell – your objections are entirely based on the fact that YOU don’t think it makes sense. But doesn’t God say in Romans that His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts? Do we have to completely understand Him for what He says to be true? Think of it from this perspective: would a holy God, who cannot look on sin, not punish people for their sin, if they don’t accept the free gift He gave them to cleanse them of their sin? We always think of God as “loving”, but we never really want to think of Him as “just”. Hell, in the literal sense, makes sense in light of all we know from the Bible, b/c it is the ultimate punishment for us not accepting what has been freely offered to us by God, who loves us, and sent His own Son to die for us, so we wouldn’t have to.

  44. Brad, it’s common knowledge that writing in all caps on the internet indicates yelling.

    I feel like you’re reading everything that I say totally literally, word for word, and that’s just not how I am meaning it. Because of that, you keep entirely missing my point. I don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose to assume that I’m meaning things that clearly aren’t so (like that God would want to rape women).

    Am I framing God the way that I understand him to be? Perhaps. But you are too. You’re interpreting the Bible one way–even though others have clearly demonstrated that it can be interpreted in multiple ways–and saying that is the one and only and true way. It just so happens that when we read the same scriptures, we’re getting different ideas. I don’t think that you have a monopoly on truth.

  45. Which all goes back, Katyjane, to whether we think truth is relative or absolute, and whether we think we can know something absolutely. I believe it’s absolute, and that we can know things absolutely. I believe that when the Bible was written, there was only 1 meaning meant by what was written. In other words, each passage, verse, word, etc… only had one intended meaning. Question is – can we know what that “true” meaning is? I believe we can, with enough intent study, proper reading of Scripture, and prayer.

    Does this allow for numerous interpretations of Scripture passages? Yes. Does this allow for numerous, correct interpretations of Scripture passages? No. Based on that, when Scripture is interpreted by 2 different people with 2 different meanings, one of them is wrong, and one of them is right. To say otherwise, means that there is no consistent meaning to what was written.

    I think you’re framing God, hell, etc… the way you want them to be, which is driving the way you understand them to be. I’m taking my understanding based in no part on how I want them to be, but entirely from Scripture. Do I wish there was no hell, b/c it will be an awful place? Yes, I wish nobody would have to go there and suffer. But just b/c of that, doesn’t mean I don’t think it exists literally, b/c the Bible describes a literal hell. Our wishes can’t determine religious truthfulness.

  46. Brad, “We try so hard, as humans, to try and put Him in a box and understand Him, to give reasons why we should or shouldn’t follow Him, but we really just elevate ourselves in the process, to some decision-making body that gets to determine whether we worship Him or not. We don’t have that option, or right.”

    Knock it off, okay? Nobody here is trying to “put God in a box.” We’re all trying to understand how God has explained himself to us (i.e. the “box” he has presented himself in), and then explain that understanding to the others here.

  47. I believe it’s absolute, and that we can know things absolutely. I believe that when the Bible was written, there was only 1 meaning meant by what was written.

    Every single thing we know about language indicates that there is not one iota of truth in that statement. And nothing in the Bible–nothing–says otherwise.

    You’re talking about faith-based linguistics, and in the end, you’re manufacturing an imaginary reality with an imaginary lanugage. The God you’re talking about is just as much a product of human imaginationas the next guy’s. Your claim that it is otherwise rests on absolutely nothing- it’s in the end just as spurious as someone deciding reality based on what they feel.

  48. Hey Brian, why don’t you knock it off? Problem is, everyone here thinks God is in a different “box”. Do you believe that, that He truly is in a different box for different people, or is He in one box, and some understand it correctly, and some don’t?

    Your answer to that question will drive your perception of who God is, and how He presents Himself.

  49. Kullervo,

    Nothing about language indicates anything at all about the statement I made. When John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, how many meanings do you believe that passage was supposed to have? Just one, or several? I’m not talking about how many “possible” interpretations it can have, but about how many meanings were intended by the author (and thus by God, who inspired it). I believe that it is only 1, and there is nothing about language – nothing, not one iota of information – that contradicts that.

  50. But we don’t know what the original meaning of there words were. Only what they are now and what we think they mean as they’re presented. Your NIV version is not the “abolute truth”, neither is my King James version. It is a linguistic representation, a copy, if you will, of what was originally revealed.

    I don’t dispute that the original revalations had an absoulute truth behind them, and that Gods meaning for individual revalations are perfectly true. But everytime one of God’s words is transmitted through human tongue, something is lost. To claim otherwise would be to claim the infallability of man and man’s thousands of languages, something I’m not prepared to do. Ahhhh, forget it. I tire of this. Feel free to respond, but I may or may not bother to respond back. Ciao

  51. I do believe that we can know things of God–like what God wants us to do and wants for us. And we can begin to understand the nature of God… but we never will completely. We can get glimpses of it, but never come close.

  52. Brad,

    You could be in a lot of trouble, because the Bible wasn’t written in English. So it’s entirely possible that the meaning that you’re getting isn’t even close to what the original meaning was.

    As for “Do you believe that, that He truly is in a different box for different people, or is He in one box, and some understand it correctly, and some don’t?”…

    I don’t believe that God is in a box. He transcends boxes. We, as humans, have no way of thinking about or conceiving of God without doing so within the constructs of our brains and thoughts, and therefore have no choice but to limit him. No words could ever do God justice or adequately describe him, because words are limited.

    God transcends boxes, and therefore the way that I see God and the way you see God–although different–could both be right. God is big enough for multiple boxes.

    But I don’t believe in absolute truth–not the way you seem to be describing it–and I don’t believe that we can comprehend God.

  53. katyjane,

    I think you said it very well (#70): God is not in a box, but we are limited. I hope you can see our agreement (see my #64). You just say it better.

  54. Well Brad, for one thing you can read the “Word” in that verse as either the Greek “logos” or the Hebrew “dabhar.”

    Both translate into the closest match to “word.” But they have quite different meanings.

    Logos is much more passive and contemplative and evokes images of the traditional Christian “unmoved mover.”

    But dabhar is much more active and connotates deed or action. Ancient Hebrews, in fact made no distinction between thought and deed. So you might well rewrite John 1:1 as: “In the beginning was the deed.” And you wouldn’t be far off in ancient Hebrew thought.

    These scriptures have multiple layers of meaning and interpretation and both you and I are out of our depth when we blithely try to assert “this is this” or “that is that.”

  55. I think there is a lot of talking past one another in this thread. There’s too much assuming the other person is saying something they are not and too little listening to the substance of what they are saying.

    There’s so much in here that a number of you are really not that far away from each other on (and some that you’re really far away on).

    Something I’m personally trying to work on is not trying to win the debate at the cost of communicating effectively.

  56. “I do believe that we can know things of God–like what God wants us to do and wants for us. And we can begin to understand the nature of God… but we never will completely. We can get glimpses of it, but never come close.” (Katyjane)

    Now there’s something I fully agree with you on!

    “You could be in a lot of trouble, because the Bible wasn’t written in English. So it’s entirely possible that the meaning that you’re getting isn’t even close to what the original meaning was.” (Katyjane)

    Yes, except for the fact that we do know the words as they were written in the original language, b/c the Bible is based on manuscript evidence, so when an English word is given, you can research it and see what Greek/Hebrew word was originally used, and derive the meaning from that. The English word “love” for example, means different things in different places, based upon one of the 3 words used for love in the Greek. So I believe it is possible, with diligent study, to ascertain the true meaning of what was intended, b/c we do know the words that were originally written, not in English, but in the original language.

    “God transcends boxes, and therefore the way that I see God and the way you see God–although different–could both be right. God is big enough for multiple boxes.

    But I don’t believe in absolute truth–not the way you seem to be describing it–and I don’t believe that we can comprehend God.” (Katyjane)

    But if one person sees God as not sending anyone to hell, but another sees Him as One who will send people to hell at Judgment, can they both be right? I would say no. This is what I’m talking about, while we can’t fully understand God’s nature, there are aspects of Him that we can definitively say are true.

  57. “Well Brad, for one thing you can read the “Word” in that verse as either the Greek “logos” or the Hebrew “dabhar.”

    Both translate into the closest match to “word.” But they have quite different meanings.

    Logos is much more passive and contemplative and evokes images of the traditional Christian “unmoved mover.”

    But dabhar is much more active and connotates deed or action. Ancient Hebrews, in fact made no distinction between thought and deed. So you might well rewrite John 1:1 as: “In the beginning was the deed.” And you wouldn’t be far off in ancient Hebrew thought.

    These scriptures have multiple layers of meaning and interpretation and both you and I are out of our depth when we blithely try to assert “this is this” or “that is that.”” (Seth R.)

    Seth, the only problem with that is that the word used for “Word” in John 1:1 isn’t “dabhar”, it’s “logos.” We know this b/c of the manuscript evidence that we have, from which the Bible is translated. No translation of the Bible uses “dabhar” as the basis for “Word” in that passage; they use “logos”, b/c that’s what the original manuscripts have. Primarily b/c the NT is mostly written in Greek, not Hebrew.

    So I see the point you are trying to make, but it doesn’t work, when we know what the original word is. If we had only English, then yes, I think your point would be valid. But we have more than just the NIV or KJV – we have the manuscript evidence from which they were translated.

  58. OK, but what was John thinking when he wrote the passage?

    Was he thinking in Greek? Or was he thinking in old Hebrew? Or was he thinking in Aramaic? And how did what he was thinking make it onto the written page.

    And then how did the scribes who followed him alter or add to the writings?

    The main point is that the word “dabhar” represents a pattern of Jewish thought on theological issues. Whether the specific word was used or not, it represents a thought pattern that would have informed the assumptions and thinking of Jewish writers of that period. It also represents a tension between the highly passive and contemplative nature of the Greek religious paradigm vs. the active and action-oriented nature of the Jewish religious paradigm.

    Just because a verse ends up written a certain way on paper doesn’t mean you have the full and accurate meaning.

    Are you really sure that John 1:1 says what you think it says? Because I don’t think any of us will ever, in this life, know the full story.

  59. BrianJ said in #54, “And any quoting of Deut 10:17 should include verse 18…. Note how it points to God’s goodness as an essential attribute (not to mention that both verses are in the greater context of Israel’s deliverance—God is God because he saves)”

    God is good and God does save, but this doesn’t change the relevance of this verse to the topic of this thread.

    The question was asked, “How many gods are there”? The Biblical answer to the question is that there is one Supreme God who is the God over an unspecified number of other “gods.” And God the Father is even said to be “the God” of Jesus Christ.

  60. so , if we have such faith to believe , but not enough reason to agree, who is to know ? you can argue scripture all the days of earths existance . having experienced the blessing of my Father in heavens love is a great feeling. No man on earth can give me the answers I need . No man can provide the atonement . Christ only in the way to the Father . I believe we all have a mind and will of our own . I believe the Scirpture that states when Christ is praying at Gethsemane He states no my will but Thine be done . For me this is definative . We must all recognize the work done to provide us with the Holy Bible is complex to say the least . Shrist taught we can have the Holy Ghost as our comforter , To me this means in all things , including confusion . If in sincerity you seek the Lords face and wish to return to live with a Loving and generous Heavenly Father you can . I love that promise from my God ( singular ) that we can all be perfect like our Father who is in heaven (scriptural ) is also true. If I can be like Him then so can anyone . Is it so improbable that God who loves us and is our Father would have children that can grow to oneday be like Him . I dont feel we are concerned enough with Loving our fellow man and attaining forgiveness for our mistakes . You say this is irrelavant and you want a better argument . That is sad , you have lost your way , repent and turn to the God who loves you and partake of the atonement Christ offers , The Holy Ghost can be you guide .
    lds

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