I wonder... are pagan gods real?


#1

Currently I am under the conviction that other “gods” exist. Ra, Zeus, Odin, etc. may all (or all have) exist(ed at one time) in my opinion.

BUT they are far, far different from YHWH, the God we worship.

First of all, they are not omnipotent like our God. Poseidon might have some influence over things of the sea, but he is (if he exists) impotent on the land, for example. Only God controls land and sea and sky, and everything else.

Second, at least some of them (according to the myths) are not everlasting either. I cannot speak for the Greek gods as dying, but I can say that Athena was borne of Zeus’s skull (meaning she has a beginning. But Osiris was once killed (IIRC). In Ragnarok, the Norse gods will (or have?) all die(d). God is, of His nature, incapable of dying.

Thirdly, they, unlike God, are morally imperfect. Zeus, for example, was often guilty of adultery (which Hera/Juno chastised him for), as was Aphrodite. Often the Greek gods were fighting amongst each other, as they could not come to an agreement on who or what was a good cause and what wasn’t. (The Iliad and the Odyssey, or example, tell stories of the battles between different factions of gods.)

Fourthly, in Acts there is an altar in Athens to an unknown God. Paul spoke of this god as the Lord God, ours. If I understand correctly, this unknown God was not merely a placeholder, but the God even “the gods” turned to for guidance.

So who might “the gods” be, then? Figments of the imagination? Possibly. Bel was, as was Ba’al.

I believe, however, they are fallen angels that sought and seek to be worshiped in place of God. Perhaps they really did have power over some parts of the world (like the sea, or the harvest). BUT their power is or was nothing compared to God Almighty, who has the power not only to calm the seas or bring the sun to us day after day, but also to give us life for ever and forever. And God lives forever and ever.

No other “god” can claim to be all that God is. If they do indeed exist, no other god compares to Him at all.

Am I wrong in believing other gods exist, even if they are powerless compared to God Almighty and not worthy of worship? They are, after all, dependent on God for all their power (just as Satan is; he would not exist unless God allowed him to).


#2

[quote="TarkanAttila, post:1, topic:261522"]
Currently I am under the conviction that other "gods" exist. Ra, Zeus, Odin, etc. may all (or all have) exist(ed at one time) in my opinion.

BUT they are far, far different from YHWH, the God we worship.

First of all, they are not omnipotent like our God.

[/quote]

So, if someone believes that Zeus is omnipotent, would that mean that Zeus and YHWH are different names of the same Deity?


#3

No.

There is only one God.

Though one could point to the demonic at times…


#4

Some pagan deities were in fact demons.

Blessings!

:slight_smile:


#5

If these “gods” existed as spiritual beings, then they were likely demons who led man astray and preyed on man’s inclination to superstition. If not, then they didn’t exist at all. Even the very first commandment deals with this!


#6

They would have to attribute other divine attributes to Zeus as well, such as absolute moral perfection. An omnipotent being who was not morally perfect would certainly not be God.

But I think it’s reasonable to say that when Cleanthes sang praise to Zeus he was addressing the one God.

Edwin


#7

You’re assuming that God and a god are the same things. The word “god” has been used very loosely.

Edwin


#8

Are you suggesting that it is impossible for there to be created beings of superhuman power who are not demons? Obviously there are angels. Given the mixed moral character of pagan gods, they don’t fit our idea of either angels or demons exactly. So unless we are willing to posit created beings of superhuman power and somewhat ambiguous moral character, we have to say that the pagan gods do not exist in precisely the form in which the pagans imagined them: either they were demons passing themselves off as morally better than they really were, or angels whose God-glorifying nature was not entirely understood, or faultily understood aspects of the one God, or pure figments of the imagination, or some combination of all the above!

I’m quite willing to speculate that there are or were created beings of superhuman power whose moral character is analogous to ours rather than being eternally fixed toward either good or evil (I say “were” because it seems quite possible or even probable that few if any such beings still retain their “unfixed” moral character 2000 years after the One God revealed Himself fully to gods and mortals in the person of Jesus Christ). I can’t see that anything in Christian revelation contradicts such an idea. But I recognize that it’s a rather outlandish one by many people’s standards.

And in fact the First Commandment does not say that there are no other gods, but that God’s people should not worship other gods. In fact, this could be understood to imply that there are other gods.

Edwin


#9

I am saying there is only one God.

If I make an idol of gold and worship it as a god …or make up some god…or worship some demon as some god…or call Neptune a god…

does not make them real gods.


#10

You didn’t respond to what I said. You just repeated the same point.

That is not a discussion.

I will repeat one more time: why do you assume that “God” and “a god” are the same thing?

Or, in other words, how do you define “a god”?

Edwin


#11

[quote="Contarini, post:7, topic:261522"]
You're assuming that God and a god are the same things. The word "god" has been used very loosely.

Edwin

[/quote]

That's a safe assumption. There is only one god, and His name is God (or Yahweh, or Abba, etc, as the case may be).

Any other "gods" are merely demons or figments of imagination. We know that God created and ordered the universe, and that He endowed the universe with rationality and a natural law. This is not consistent with the idea of nature "gods" that control various aspects of the universe/world.

If there were any assertion of such beings, it is simple enough to ask for an example of their control over natural aspects that isn't accounted for by strict adherence to God's natural law (and isn't attributable to God Himself). The case being no, the answer is clear: there are no gods but God.


#12

Good luck with that.
:wink:


#13

[quote="Contarini, post:10, topic:261522"]
You didn't respond to what I said. You just repeated the same point.

That is not a discussion.

I will repeat one more time: why do you assume that "God" and "a god" are the same thing?

Or, in other words, how do you define "a god"?

Edwin

[/quote]

I expanded.

My examples noted further senses of "god".

As did the OP.

Zeus, Odin etc


#14

Zeus…Odin…etc did not and do not exist as “supernatural beings”.

Unless perhaps fallen angels who have made use of such myths or instigated them.

So no they are not “real”.


#15

=TarkanAttila;8532767]Currently I am under the conviction that other “gods” exist. Ra, Zeus, Odin, etc. may all (or all have) exist(ed at one time) in my opinion.

BUT they are far, far different from YHWH, the God we worship.

First of all, they are not omnipotent like our God. Poseidon might have some influence over things of the sea, but he is (if he exists) impotent on the land, for example. Only God controls land and sea and sky, and everything else.

Second, at least some of them (according to the myths) are not everlasting either. I cannot speak for the Greek gods as dying, but I can say that Athena was borne of Zeus’s skull (meaning she has a beginning. But Osiris was once killed (IIRC). In Ragnarok, the Norse gods will (or have?) all die(d). God is, of His nature, incapable of dying.

Thirdly, they, unlike God, are morally imperfect. Zeus, for example, was often guilty of adultery (which Hera/Juno chastised him for), as was Aphrodite. Often the Greek gods were fighting amongst each other, as they could not come to an agreement on who or what was a good cause and what wasn’t. (The Iliad and the Odyssey, or example, tell stories of the battles between different factions of gods.)

Fourthly, in Acts there is an altar in Athens to an unknown God. Paul spoke of this god as the Lord God, ours. If I understand correctly, this unknown God was not merely a placeholder, but the God even “the gods” turned to for guidance.

So who might “the gods” be, then? Figments of the imagination? Possibly. Bel was, as was Ba’al.

I believe, however, they are fallen angels that sought and seek to be worshiped in place of God. Perhaps they really did have power over some parts of the world (like the sea, or the harvest). BUT their power is or was nothing compared to God Almighty, who has the power not only to calm the seas or bring the sun to us day after day, but also to give us life for ever and forever. And God lives forever and ever.

No other “god” can claim to be all that God is. If they do indeed exist, no other god compares to Him at all.

Am I wrong in believing other gods exist, even if they are powerless compared to God Almighty and not worthy of worship? They are, after all, dependent on God for all their power (just as Satan is; he would not exist unless God allowed him to).

Yes your wrong. Satan wnats you beliefe your right.

What is the perceived need? And if there is a need why can’t or why is it not filled by our One Trinue God.

Your in very dangerous territory here my friend.

God Bless,
Pat


#16

[quote="Contarini, post:6, topic:261522"]
They would have to attribute other divine attributes to Zeus as well, such as absolute moral perfection. An omnipotent being who was not morally perfect would certainly not be God.

But I think it's reasonable to say that when Cleanthes sang praise to Zeus he was addressing the one God.

Edwin

[/quote]

I am not a scholar in the field of Greek mythology, though i did study it intensively once upon a time in connection with a college course on the Iliad.

In even studying the Iliad, one has to realize that there are different conceptions of "God" or "the gods" in Greek mythology. Sometimes, for instance, Zeus is a scamp, hardly better than an impetuous schoolboy. Sometimes, though, he truly is equated with the First Cause of all things and comes very near the Hebrew concept.

Nowadays, nobody is quite certain why those differences exist in the mythology. It is widely believed, however, that the "gods are about like men, but more powerful" part is for the benefit of the ignorant whose minds were filled with superstitions of all sorts, while the more sophisticated views were for the educated and the wise.

It's also very clear in Greek mythology (as with others) that sometimes gods are simply the metamorphoses of heroes of human scale but a bit stronger, wiser, and so on, than the ordinary run. So, in that sense, some of them really did exist, but only as men.

I would not quibble with those who think some were demonic representations that somehow achieved the status of godhead among the ignorant and superstitious.

But is there really an Apollo who heals or brings plagues depending on his mood? No.


#17

[quote="TarkanAttila, post:1, topic:261522"]
Currently I am under the conviction that other "gods" exist. Ra, Zeus, Odin, etc. may all (or all have) exist(ed at one time) in my opinion.
.

[/quote]

all 'gods' are an attempt to find the One True God and to explain the natural world around us. The majority are made in the image of man and take on all human characteristics including man's fallen nature.


#18

When I speak of “gods” and “God”, I am speaking of two different things:

“God” is necessarily extant. God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is immutable. God is the source and summit of righteousness.

A “god” (lower-case g) is worshiped in lieu of God (capital G), may possess supernatural powers, but lacks all of the qualifications God has to be God. But it is worshiped as if it had.

Zeus may be omnipotent, but he is not completely righteous nor immutable. Thoth may be omniscient, but he is not omnipotent. Odin is neither omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, nor completely righteous.

God alone is all these things. The gods may have traits of God, as humans do. But they are not God. You see what I mean?


#19

OK, what about Shiva, who is believed to be omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and completely righteous?


#20

Odin and Zeus and company did not and do not exist for real.


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