Argument against plurality/multitude of gods in Scripture?


#1

Here’s the first argument of someone who asserts the pluarity of gods in Scripture.

In Genesis 1:1, the plural noun “Elohim” is used.
In Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used.

That “Elohim” and “us” refer to more than two gods is WITHOUT question.
In English, there are two forms, singular and plural. In Hebrew, you have three forms: singular, dual, and plural.
Dual is for two ONLY. In Hebrew, the dual form is used for things that come in pairs like eyes, ears, and hands. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms - definitely more than two - and is referring to three or more distinctive gods

Elohim is used 66 times in a row at the beginning of the Bible long before any Hebrew word was translated into the English
Genesis 1:26 And God saith, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
(Exodus 20:3)
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
(Exodus: 34:14)

I don’t know Hebrew, so I can’t check up on any of this. I tried to counter with the Trinity, but with no knowledge of Hewbrew, I can’t really answer effectively.

When I mentioned the Trinity, the person continued with:

The “Us” is not the Trinity, nor is the godhead, it is gods (more than two),
“Make man in our image” if the godhead was three aspects of same god it would be “make them in my image” if you believe in the bible of course

1 Corinthians 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be gods many, and lords many,
1 Corinthians 8:6,
“For us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him.”

The multitude of pagan god illustrate the truth to Paul, who mentioned “regarding gods many and lords many;” The very fact of them being in heaven or on earth proved that none of them controlled all things, as he was claiming his god did. The minor gods that Paul admitted existed controlled some things, for example the god of the woods looked after the woods and the god of the sky controlled the sky, but according to Paul his god controlled all things

I’m pretty sure Paul is only talking about beings called gods rather than their being gods, but I’m not sure how to convincingly back that up.

Thanks in advance!


#2

Regarding the meaning of Elohim this is pretty good:

newadvent.org/cathen/05393a.htm

In 1Cor the context makes it pretty clear what Paul is talking about and you are correct.
1Co 8:4 But as for the meats that are sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no God but one.

1Co 8:5 For although there be that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many and lords many):

1Co 8:6 Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him: and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Basically, as you have already worked out, there are many idols (that people call goods) but in fact rather than being gods they are “nothing in the world”. There is only one God no matter how many things people call god. Yes the pagans had many gods but none of those gods were real.

Good luck in putting the mind of Paul over convincingly to your friend. It might be hard work if your friend doesn’t want to be convinced of anything.


#3

[quote=JordanFernandez]Here’s the first argument of someone who asserts the pluarity of gods in Scripture.

Quote:
 	 		 			 				In Genesis 1:1, the plural noun "Elohim" is used. 

In Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used.

That “Elohim” and “us” refer to more than two gods is WITHOUT question.
In English, there are two forms, singular and plural. In Hebrew, you have three forms: singular, dual, and plural.
Dual is for two ONLY. In Hebrew, the dual form is used for things that come in pairs like eyes, ears, and hands. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms - definitely more than two - and is referring to three or more distinctive gods

Elohim is used 66 times in a row at the beginning of the Bible long before any Hebrew word was translated into the English
Genesis 1:26 And God saith, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
(Exodus 20:3)
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
(Exodus: 34:14)

[/quote]

Jordan,

As somebody who took one semester of modern Hebrew over twenty years ago, I speak with fear and trembling but with an excellent memory.

The “-im” ending is indeed masculine plural, but it also applies to something uncountable. For example, “mayim” is “water” and “shamayim” is “sky.” Both of these are continuous things and are not distinct things that you can count. So there is more to the '-im" ending than being the plural form.

You need to be a bit careful, though. Hebrew does indeed have the “dual” number; dual nouns end with “-ayim.” So, for example, “year” is “sha-na” (stress on the second syllable), “years” is “sha-nim”, and “two years” is “shna-tay-im”. I don’t remember enough Hebrew to give any examples of non-plural continuous things that end in “-im” but not “-ayim”. (We do have the singular Urim and Thummim of Aaron, but that is something entirely different.)

The “let us” note in Genesis I can mean many things. Kings and newspaper editors refer to themselves in the plural (“We the King …”) and God could easily do the same thing, even without the doctrine of the Trinity.

When I mentioned the Trinity, the person continued with:

  Quote:
   		 			 				The "Us" is not the Trinity, nor is the godhead, it is gods (more than two), 

“Make man in our image” if the godhead was three aspects of same god it would be “make them in my image” if you believe in the bible of course

Thanks in advance!

Your friend is talking through his hat when he asserts that “Us is not the Trinity.” The doctrine of the Trinity refers to having three separate Persons in one undivided Godhead, and separate Persons would naturally say “Let Us” rather than “Let Me.”

  • Liberian

#4

Jordan,

I was just looking in my Hebrew Old Testament today after something else and realized that in Genesis 2 and 3, where your friend says that God is referred to in the plural “Elohim,” the actual reference to God is " Elohim"–in other words, God’s actual Name is used and followed by the word “Elohim.” The NAB translates this as “the LORD God.”

I think your friend’s theory about multiple gods has just been blown out of the water.

  • Liberian

#5

As for whether any of the other so-called “gods” are real, I would read the story in 1 Kings 18…


#6

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