Pick a god, any god

01/25/2016

“You shall have no other gods besides me.” (Exodus 20:3)

So, who was God referring to when he supposedly uttered those now-famous words? What other gods could there have been?  Take your pick, as there were actually many different gods in the Bible!

In Genesis, God creates heaven and earth, and man of course.  The thing to remember about the Genesis story is that it took place a couple of thousand years before Moses. There is a linkage there that’s often missed, though.  That is, Moses lived at the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten who is considered by most historians to be the father of monotheism. If true, this would mean that all religious beliefs prior to Akhenaten, including that of the Israelites, were polytheistic. That should really be no big surprise as most biblical scholars believe that was the case anyway.

Therefore, the context of the Genesis story had to have been one of a belief in many gods.  How could it have been otherwise? The Bible, itself, actually confirms it (e.g. it says that Abraham’s family worshipped other gods). Yet, the Genesis story has been widely interpreted as the story about the one and only god. Do you see the incongruity there? So, how should the Genesis story be correctly viewed given that the ancient Israelites were polytheistic? Let’s try to break it down.

 

The gods of the Bible

The god of Genesis 1 was referred to as the Elohim in the Hebrew texts. Wikipedia says this about the term Elohim, “Hebrew grammar allows for this nominally plural form to mean ‘He is the Power (singular) over powers (plural)’, or roughly, ‘God of gods.’” Along those lines, certain verses in the Bible are actually translated as “God of gods” (for example, see Joshua 22:22, Psalm 136:2 and Deuteronomy 10:17). 

Things really get interesting in Psalm 82:1,6. There we find that, “God (Yahweh) standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods…I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Here the plural form of Elohim is on full display.  The twist in this verse is the use of the term “most High”, referring to the god most High.  The relationship between Yahweh and the god most High can be plainly seen in Deuteronomy 32:8-9, as follows:

“When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s (Yahweh) portion is his people; Jacob (Israel) is the lot of his inheritance.”

So, the writers of the Old Testament believed that the Elohim were the creator gods and that Yahweh was the ranking member of the Elohim. However, above them all was someone they referred to as the god most High. So when Yahweh proclaimed that “you shall have no other gods besides me”, it makes sense who he might have been referring to.

 

Gods or humans?

Something that is often overlooked about the gods of the Old Testament is how much they looked and acted like humans. One could chalk that up to fanciful writing on the part of the Old Testament writers or there could be a simpler explanation. The stories could just as well have been based upon actual contact with a life form that they didn’t understand, a life form that told man that they were gods. The Old Testament is actually replete with such stories.

In Numbers 23:19, it says that, “God is not a man, that he should lie….”  The clear inference is that God does not lie, only man does. However, the god of Genesis lied about dying if you ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (see Genesis 2:17). The only logical conclusion that one can draw from this is that the god of Genesis was not God.  If he wasn’t God, then, exactly who was he?

Well, there’s actually a few clues in the Bible that indicate who the gods of Genesis might have been. For starters, Genesis 1:26 says that man was created in the image and likeness of the Elohim. In evolutionary biology, the only way for life to be created is from a similar life form, more specifically one with the same DNA (e.g. every human being on this planet came from another human being and every elephant on this planet came from another elephant). Further, in Genesis 3:22, Yahweh says that man has become “like one of us” (like the Elohim). So, man’s creator gods must have been very similar to a human DNA-wise. That is, modern man’s creator gods must have been physical life forms.

 

The origins of man

Arguably, the greatest scientific discovery of all-time was the discovery of DNA. In 1962, molecular biologist Francis Crick and James Watson were awarded the Nobel Prize for developing a model for the helical structure of DNA, which was the jumping off point for the ground-breaking work that would follow in the field of genetics.  Because of his own continued work in the field of genetics, Crick would come to believe that life on Earth may have been seeded deliberately by other civilizations. That theory is generally referred to as Directed Panspermia.

So, according to Crick, an advanced extraterrestrial civilization may have been responsible for the creation of modern man (Homo sapiens). They wouldn’t have created the universe and all life in it, but they could have been responsible for a DNA upgrade of an existing life form on this planet, an upgrade utilizing their own DNA. If so, they may have been referred to by ancient man as the Elohim (or God, to some).

 

Understanding the Bible

What’s missing in all of the discussion about the Bible and its creation story is this. There was more than one god. Without that understanding, there is no way to fully comprehend the bible stories.

That is, in the beginning there was the Prime Creator god who presumably said, “Let there be light.” He created the universe and was responsible for the Big Bang, whose cause was obviously beyond space and time.  As life evolved, other life forms came into existence.  So, eons after the initial creation, highly evolved life forms came to this planet and created modern man (from life forms that already existed here).  They were not gods, but rather an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, just as Crick surmised. That’s why they looked and acted like humans (unlike the God of the New Testament who is considered to be an invisible spirit). Because they were a very advanced species, they had technology that made ancient man believe that they were dealing with gods.  After all, they created modern man, didn’t they?

In the final analysis, it’s important to remember that the Bible never says that man was created in the image and likeness of God.  What it actually says is that man was created in the image and likeness of the Elohim. Ancient man called the Elohim “God”… but they weren’t. This understanding is the secret that religion has not passed on to the masses…but, of course, now you know.

 

Epilogue

It was more than three thousand years after Adam and Eve before the Israelites wrote the Old Testament and adopted Judaism. Yahweh finally got his wish.  He received a promotion to the “one and only god”.  From that point on, the Old Testament would be considered to be a story about the one true god. There would be no other gods before us.

 

“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”

   – Plato

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2 Responses to “Pick a god, any god”

  1. Arkenaten said

    You would probably enjoy Julian May’s Golden Torc series.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saga_of_Pliocene_Exile

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