Countering LDS Apologist's claims about multiple gods?


#1

Apologists defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often cite the Bible to defend the LDS belief in a plurity of gods. After reviewing some of these verses and examining the footnotes in the NAB I have to say I'm some what confused on scripture, the orthodox position, and the LDS position. Here are the verses and NAB footnotes:
Psalm 82

1
A psalm of Asaph.
I
God takes a stand in the divine council,
gives judgment in the midst of the gods.a
2
“How long will you judge unjustly
and favor the cause of the wicked?b
Selah
3
“Defend the lowly and fatherless;
render justice to the afflicted and needy.
4
Rescue the lowly and poor;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”c
II
5
The gods neither know nor understand,
wandering about in darkness,
and all the world’s foundations shake.
6
I declare: “Gods though you be,*d
offspring of the Most High all of you,
7
Yet like any mortal you shall die;
like any prince you shall fall.”
8
Arise, O God, judge the earth,

for yours are all the nations.
* [Psalm 82] As in Ps 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom Israel’s God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning (Dt 32:8–9). Now God arises in the heavenly assembly (Ps 82:1) to rebuke the unjust “gods” (Ps 82:2–4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced in rank to mortals (Ps 82:5–7). They are accused of misruling the earth by not upholding the poor. A short prayer for universal justice concludes the Psalm (Ps 82:8).

  • [82:5] The gods are blind and unable to declare what is right. Their misrule shakes earth’s foundations (cf. Ps 11:3; 75:4), which God made firm in creation (Ps 96:10).

  • [82:6] I declare: “Gods though you be”: in Jn 10:34 Jesus uses the verse to prove that those to whom the word of God is addressed can fittingly be called “gods.”

  • [82:8] Judge the earth: according to Dt 32:8–9, Israel’s God had originally assigned jurisdiction over the foreign nations to the subordinate deities, keeping Israel as a personal possession. Now God will directly take over the rulership of the whole world.

Dt 32:7-9

7
Remember the days of old,
consider the years of generations past.
Ask your father, he will inform you,
your elders, they will tell you:e
8
When the Most High allotted each nation its heritage,
when he separated out human beings,f
He set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the divine beings;*
9
But the LORD’s portion was his people;
his allotted share was Jacob.

  • [32:8] Divine beings: lit., “sons of God” (see also v. 43); members of the divine assembly; cf. 1 Kgs 22:19; Jb 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps 82; 89:6–7. The nations are portrayed as having their respective tutelary deities.

Job 1:6

One day, when the sons of God* came to present themselves before the LORD, the satan also came among them.
* [1:6] Sons of God: members of the divine council; see Gn 6:1–4; Dt 32:8; Ps 82:1

Gen 6:1-4

1
When human beings began to grow numerous on the earth and daughters were born to them,
2
the sons of God* saw how beautiful the daughters of human beings were, and so they took for their wives whomever they pleased.a
3
Then the LORD said: My spirit shall not remain in human beings forever, because they are only flesh. Their days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.
4
The Nephilim appeared on earth in those days, as well as later,* after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of human beings, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.

Gen 1:26

Then God said: Let us make* human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.
* [1:26] Let us make: in the ancient Near East, and sometimes in the Bible, God was imagined as presiding over an assembly of heavenly beings who deliberated and decided about matters on earth (1 Kgs 22:19–22; Is 6:8; Ps 29:1–2; 82; 89:6–7; Jb 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). This scene accounts for the plural form here and in Gn 11:7 (“Let us then go down…”). Israel’s God was always considered “Most High” over the heavenly beings.

Clearly, there are other verses that seem to contradict these (in fact Is 44 seems to directly contradict the implication of the Gen 1:26 footnote which seems more consistant with the LDS Book of Abraham than the true Catholic position!), but how are we to account for these verses without simply ignoring them?


#2

First, get rid of that NAB! It is considered by many (myself included) to be a poor translation. The notes can be toxic to faith, as you have found. Try a Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition, a Douay-Rheims, A Jerusalem bible, a Knox bible, or (my favorite) a 1941-1952 Confraternity (CCD) bible.

As to notes, the Haydock Commentary is excellent.

Once you obtain another bible, compare a couple of verses side-by-side. Read them aloud and notice how they flow off the tongue. You will notice an obvious difference.

As to apologetics, please consider getting a copy of The Essential Catholic Survival Guide, available at this site. It is a very useful book that will help in the defense against non-Catholic faiths.


#3

Depending on the translation gods with a little g is referring to the angels. These angels are god like but they are not God.


#4

As a former Mormon, they have no real support for plrality of gods. They ignore the Scripture where God says He is the only God.

The Book of Mormon says there is ONE God, but they ignore that, too.

They believe God was once a sinful man who became a god, and that we can all be gods someday. Nothing to do with that psalm.


#5

I’ve heard and argument from an LDS member saying that those verses, including the ones in the BoM, only says that the one God is the god of this planet/universe (opinions as to which differ)


#6

Actually, the Old testament is full of mention of other gods, and how the Israelite’s kept falling into idolatry (golden calf, Baal and Asherah), and in fact when Moses asks God his name in Exodus 3:13, he is trying to distinguish him from the other gods that were worshiped at the time. But even so we can see the clear message of the bible, here is a list from a google search about the bible teaching that there is only one God; angelfire.com/la2/prophet1/only1god.html

But overall when scripture is read in it’s entirety and not in bits and pieces, we can see the journey of the Israelite’s who struggled with polytheism in their early days and the constant reminder that God keeps giving to them, that he is the one and only. So for people who are claiming the bible says their are other gods, they are sorely lacking in context and missing the entire journey of how the Jewish people came to monotheism, and how hard it was to resist influence from the surrounding cultures.

I personally believe that this journey was necessary in that when God was finally ready to reveal himself as a trinity, this could have been so easily misconstrued in the early days of the Israelite’s as three gods, and so the time he chose to reveal that about himself, had to be when the Jewish people had finally been firm monotheists.


#7

if only those verses said that.

That is the problem with Mormons…they find themselves having to rewrite, backtrack, whitewash, ignore, and justify almost everything.


#8

As we all know, Judaism is a monotheistic religion, and has taught that there is only one God for thousands of years. It seems that the Mormons are claiming to understand the Hebrew language and biblical Jewish literary styles better than the Jews do themselves. To me, that seems to be extremely presumptuous.


#9

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