Elohim from Canaanite Religion?


#1

I came across someone commenting on an article, saying that Elohim (the Father, the God of Abraham) can be found in Canaanite pantheistic religion which pre-dates Judaism, and therefore was stolen from another belief system and had a history created to give it credibility. Using this site as a source.

I was curious if anyone knew more about this topic. Thanks.


#2

I am not very well versed in the subject, but certainly there may have been shared language and perhaps even some limited revelation to the Canaanites (perhaps pre-dating the Exodus and Israel leaving for Egypt? Though not necessary…). God’s wrath on them seems to imply they should have been worshipping him instead. Plus, pre-Exilic Israel wasnt always faithful to the Lord, either. The Pentateuch makes the danger of mixing with other religions quite clear, the prophets pointed out this religious harlotry many times, and the Exile was seen as punishment for it, even a purification, if you will. I don’t find anything in the attached link damaging to the faith.


#3

El actually. He was the supreme God of the Caananite pantheon.

Yhwh was also another Canaanite god, origianlly distinct from El, which was acquired by Israel as its national god and as monotheism developed was eventually fused with El as the One True God. It’s to be expected, as Levant kingdoms such as Israel, Judah, Phoenecia, Moab and Ammon would exert influence on each other.

Nothing in this threatens the truth of Christianity or Judaism.

Even in pagan El-ism or Yahwism, the Canaanites held some truth. In time, the One True God identified himself, clarifying to his people who he was vis-a-vis El and Yhwh.


#4

Could you elaborate more? I cannot see past this. I cannot see how if they took a god from another religion and made it their own, how it could not threaten Christianity and it’s Jewish roots? I see it in the light as if they took Zeus and made him their own.


#5

Still nothing to worry about.

God did not see it fit to reveal himself in full to the Canaanites, so they could go only with what they knew. They knew that there was a supreme God, and in their case, called him El. They also knew of Yhwh, a lesser god, but eventually God did reveal himself as Yhwh, and the only God. Israel eventually fused the two gods into one as God revealed himself to them.

Even pre-exilic Israel was a bit in the dark about God. For one, they were not monotheistic; they were henotheistic, believing in multiple gods, although forbidden to worship any but their own god. Only during the Exile and after did Judaism emerge as a strictly monotheistic religion. Virtually all the books of the Torah have post-exilic influence in them, but we can still see some of the original distinction between the LORD and El, having been skillfully blended into a coherent narrative about the one True God.

Things like these should panic no one; this is history, or at least, a strong theory thereof. But on the flip side, those who are weak in faith should not, on possible pain of sin, expose themselves unnecessarily if they could stumble.There is only one Truth, and that is Christ. Therefore there will never be any conflict between faith, history and science. But unless and until you are convinced of that, you are morally bound to avoid anything that can be damaging to your faith, and it could be sinful to disobey.


#6

Remeber, history, and archeology, can be interpreted very subjectively. Archeology can only find objects that are buried, and try to ascertain their context. History, likewise, is given to us through a filter of individual people. Both fields are to be respected, but they have limitations that have to also be respected. Now, historical development, and archeological findings are constantly re assessed. In the 1890s the Book of Acts was concidered a joke historically speaking, but in the intervening 100 years people have discovered that much of what they though was wrong was, in fact, correct.

At the moment it is fashionable to hold the Penetuche and the Historical books in a very low regard. It should be remembered that in 10 or so years we will have another crop of Doctoral Dissertations that need to be written, and much of what is said now will be revised.

This is a long winded way of saying, don’t worry about it. I would expect the cannanites would have added YHWH to their pantheon, after all, even if the OT is completely accurate (historically) we know the Israelites added plenty of caananite gods to their Pantheon.


#7

God’s revealing of himself was progressive, not all at once. Abraham seems to have come from a polytheistic culture. He was chosen to be dedicated to the true God and tested, and brought his new beliefs to Palestine. Perhaps he left a seed? Perhaps not? It might also not be correct to treat the head God of each religion as necessarily a different gods, but as a distorted understanding of THE God. They all recognized a higher power. I don’t know, there’s a thousand takes on this. Plus language and culture overlap.


#8

As the site pointed out the Hebrew decriptions of Canaanite practises were accurate but not a comprehensive survey.

After the events of the early descendents of Adam, the early patriarchs, the time of Noah and of Babel, there was scarcely the sketchiest idea of Revelation with anybody. Superstitious perversions scarcely documented were commonplace. (Not light reading.)

Taking etymology back 8,000, 10,000 or so years which is probably near impossible, who is to know that the names themselves of gods aren’t garbled versions of vocabulary used in God’s relationship with early man, though their usage for most of this period was in relation to other belief. Also god names may derive ultimately from ordinary things like ‘star’ or ‘thunder’, or ordinary qualities like ‘powerful’, ‘old’, etc much of which could have originally pointed indirectly to a true God as well as it could a false one (an idea of mine).

God called Terah and Abraham to distance themselves and revealed Himelf in simple ways using some of the familiar vocabulary. In addition He even apparently assumed Abraham would assume sacrificing his son was the way to get through to Him (or at least possibly that is the way the story has been edited to teach us - just ideas of mine).

At the level of us the public, when we read of archaeological discoveries in magazines what we are reading sometimes has layers of interpretation added by the writers and by personalities such as experts, professors, etc each of whom may happen to have their own set of assumptions and theoretical frameworks. It may sometimes seem to be trying to imply that the belief of the Hebrews and Jews was solely a pagan cult adopted wholesale without any distinctive relationship with God, whereas what is reflected in the Bible is that the core of their faith was this relationship but that they continually as mentioned by the posters above departed from it to other things mentioned, and which naturally are turning up in excavations.


#9

Also there may have been periodic individuals a little like the Enoch mentioned in Genesis.


#10

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