Does the Bible teach that there is only one God or many gods?

One God or many gods? at Triablogue

Steve Hays provided an excellent quote by Bruce Waltke that refuted Peter Enns’ comment and some liberal theologians/commentators about “many gods”.

Then I added some comments: (edited here a little for smoothness)

Was the Mormon Kwaku (in the debate with James White and Jeff Durbin) trying to employ John Walton’s interpretation of Genesis, (The Lost World of Genesis 1 and other books) in order to somehow say that the worldview of the Hebrews was in reality, Polytheism?

This seems like a good analysis of John Walton’s theory of the ANE narrative put over on top of the OT.
Seems the motivation behind all of this is Theistic Evolution and attempts to square modern Darwinian scientific theory with Genesis and the rest of Scripture. (connection to BioLogos, etc.)


I should have written:
attempts to square Genesis and the rest of Scripture with modern Darwinian scientific theory. (connection to BioLogos, etc.)

Similar to Bruce Waltke’s refutation of Enns, James White cited Psalm 96:5 and Jeremiah chapter 10 as clear texts that refuted the polytheism / ANE worldview of Walton, etc.

“For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.”
Psalm 96:5

In total harmony with Deuteronomy 4:39 and 1 Corinthians 8:4-6.


Then Sam Shamoun, (I appreciate him identifying himself  in an earlier post there at Triablogue, under that moniker) going by “Ben Malik”, had to add his snarky and always insult laced comment:
  1. Psalm 96:5 doesn’t refute the existence of other gods as Heiser shows, since even Paul admits that behind the idols lies a spiritual presence, namely demons. 1 Corinthians 10:19-21. So you’re going to have to go better than parrot the arguments of your idol and try to actually engage the responses made by Heiser and others.


    My response:

    My understanding of Psalm 96:5 (and Psalm 82) was in my own heart and mind, long before I even knew of Dr. White, who, by the way, is not my “idol”.
    Amazing that you are not learning to get rid of your bombastic and snarky and -always having to throw out an insult- style – you always have to have some kind of level of “in your face” comment that is a bad witness for Jesus Christ. Your whole demeanor exudes an angry spirit. Repent of it. It is amazing that you keep acting bad on line for so long. You are a bad witness.

    That said, I will have to review Heiser’s “divine council” view for more details. I read it several years ago.

    Without reviewing it again, the emphasis, IMO, in Psalm 82 is upon the human judges and rulers of the earth that are arrogant and unjust, and think they are like “gods” because of their arrogance and power and wickedness of doing unjust political and social actions (injustice to the poor and widows, oppressed, etc. verses 2-4) Since the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14) and the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:1-19) are also called out for their sins and arrogance, etc., and at the same time, those texts, especially Ezekiel 28, show that the spirit behind the political evils of those real kings was indeed Satan himself, the fallen angel/cherub, who was in the garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13-17), therefore, I have no problem with understanding Psalm 82 as including both human kings and rulers who think they are “gods” (see Ezekiel 28:2 – “because your heart was lifted up and you have said “I am a god” . . . – “. . . yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God”.

    So, when Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and the leaders of political Israel in John 10, He is accusing them of the same arrogance as the pagan rulers and unjust leaders and showing the contrast between the eternal God who make the heavens and earth (Psalm 96:5Genesis 1:1) and also rebuking the evil spirit of pride and arrogance that seems to be behind political evils – the powers of darkness, principalities and powers – as in the Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 passages and Daniel 10 (“the prince of Persia” and the “prince of Greece” and warfare with good angels, like Michael the archangel); and that harmonizes with what 1 Cor. 10:19-21 says also.

    It seems the emphasis in Psalm 82 is upon the human rulers / leaders/ political leaders / kings, both of Israel and the nations (verse 8) is that those kind of human rulers are so arrogant in their hearts, and they have physical and military power to call servants to do their bidding, etc. – they think they are “gods”, but in reality they are not; and they do not even realize that Satan and the powers of darkness are behind them influencing them in their sins and injustice.


    I left out reference to Psalm 82:6-7 – which in context seems to be saying that unjust political rulers who have allowed evil spirits to influence and control them, are going to die, just like all human beings will. “sons of the Most High” includes created human beings and created spirit beings, (angels and demons), but the evil humans will die and the demons will be judged. (verse 8)

    Psalm 97:2-20 and 89:14 and 11:3 also show the contrast between the justice of the one true Creator God and His foundation of His just judgement on His throne, vs. the unjust human rules and evil spirits behind them.


    sorry, I left out: (in bold)

    therefore, I have no problem with understanding Psalm 82 as including both human kings and rulers who think they are “gods” (see Ezekiel 28:2 – “because your heart was lifted up and you have said “I am a god” . . . – “. . . yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God”. and also evil spirits who are behind them, influencing them.

    includes both evil human unjust rulers and also evil spirits.


    John 10:33-39
    Jesus turns the tables on them – it is they are who mere humans who because of their arrogance and injustice, make their hearts like God. (verse 33 – they accuse Jesus of what actually they are doing, like the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:2.

    In John 10:34, Jesus is just saying that the law (word of God, including the Psalms) says that God mocks them and “calls them gods” (I said), but in reality they are not “gods”, but they are humans who will die. Psalm 82:6-7) and John 10:35-36, Jesus says that word of God is true in that God called them “gods’ mockingly, but Jesus is saying that He is the true Son of God, whereas they just think they are “gods”, being deluded.


    Psalm 82:7 – you will die “like” men and “like” princes, does not necessarily mean a contrast between unhuman spirits and humans, rather is saying “just like all other humans, you will also die” (because you are mere mortal humans, created beings); (while not excluding judgment on evil spirits)

    and because it seems to include evil spirits (per previous comments above), the dying would include the eternal judgment/perishing against the evil spirits also. (Revelation 20:10-15; Matthew 25 – “go into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)


    Also, Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees in John 10:33-39 is even more clearly confirmed earlier, when Jesus said that they were of their father, the devil, who was a murderer and father of lies. (John 8:44) – shows they are the unjust human rulers who are being influenced by the evil spirit / evil spirits, just as the unjust political leaders are rebuked in Psalm 82.


    So, in conclusion, the Bible, both OT and NT teaches pure Monotheism (Trinitarian Monotheism), that there is only one Eternal Creator God – not many gods.  “gods” are the idols of the nations and the vain imaginations / delusions of sinful human beings and the prideful arrogance / delusions of sinful humans, political leaders, rulers, and the demons / evil spirits behind them that influence them.


About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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