[b-hebrew] heno- v's poly- theismin the torah
Read, James C
K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Fri Jul 29 21:16:26 EDT 2005
May I suggest that we desist from using terms such as mono/poly/heno-theism?
which are relatively modern terms and filled with connotations that
can be offensive to a wide variety of faiths when applied to the Torah.
As most religions have lost the use of the name, yahowah, the word 'God',
often capitalised has replaced this name and so there is a little confusion
caused when we talk about gods, in general.
One thing is indisputable about the Torah, and all of the Tanak: and that
is that it is mono-yhwh-istic.
The term 'El' is ascribed to Yah's messengers and so includes also the
heavenly hosts, which include all the faithful angels as well as Shatan
and his rebels.
Job, which tradition also attributes to Moshe', illustrates a heavenly courtroom
where Shatan confronts Yahowah face-to-face. Shatan is definitely considered to
be living and also can be described as an 'El' but not as the 'El Shadai',which
is a title uniquely ascribed to Yahowah.
"And so Yahowah says to Moshe 'Listen up! I've made you god to Pharoah and your
brother, Aaron will be your prophet"Exodus 7:1.
Also Moshe himself is described as God but never as El Shadai.
Many of the false gods which were worshipped in Egypt resembled animals and in fact
the account of the rebellion in Eden shows the temptation as originating from an
animal, a snake. Why is this significant? Because the chain of command was:
If the message to eat the fruit had come from a messenger then the chain of command
would not have been violated. Eve had to obey an animal and Adam had to obey Eve for
both of them to be guilty of disobeying Yahowah.
The purpose of Shatan (the opposer) has always been to be to rebel against Yahowah
and to mislead the masses into behaviour which is offensive in his eyes. All the false
gods of the Tanak were obviously originally inspired by Shatan and his renegade crew
of fallen messengers and it is not unlikely that they appeared to men in the forms
that we see in extant idols in order to make themselves gods, which would detract
from the correct worship of Yahowah, the El Shadai.
For this reason Yahowah is jealous, because the worship of idols is ultimately one of
a) Worship of lifeless images
b) Indirect or direct worship of Shatan
Yahowah has no physical form and forbids the use of any physical representation of
himself and this is what identifies him and separates from all the other gods.
Hence, while the tanak may well acknowledge the existence of other living gods, it
is quite clear that only he is to be worshipped and that furthermore, nothing has come
into existence without his creating it. See Gen 1.
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