Many readers get so caught up in the fairly interesting readings that we collectively call “the Bible,” that they fail to notice would should have been obvious to us from the start. This book suggests that ethical monotheism is the right or best way to pursue a relationship with our Father and blessed Creator (Here, we Deists could not agree more). Yet, it actually, in its more salient teachings and/ or collections, teaches this or that form of polytheism, sometimes as a blatant polytheism, sometimes as a more clandestine form called “Henotheism.”
To begin with, the Bible’s God bears the pluriform name “Elohim,” which Christians point to without hesitation to try to prove their false (and polytheistic, though they will deny it) doctrine of the Trinity.
Next, we note that the Psalms repeatedly praise God as “the god of Gods,” or mention that he presides over the other gods as the greatest of them (Henotheism), which title is also used in the Book of Daniel (God of gods). Daniel is supposed to be among the very wisest of the OT spiritual leaders, and the record would have it that he was King Darius’ favorite and third in the empire (similar to Joseph of the Genesis record).”
The many historical and chronological errors of the Book of Daniel should not detract from the point — it clearly teaches a kind of polytheism. Here, Daniel and his three friends receive Babylonian names by the appointment of Nebuchadnezzar — his is called (after the deity “Bel”), which Nebuchadnezzar says, is “after the name of my god” — whence Daniel is dubbed “Bel-teshazzar,” similar to the name of a king later introduced as “Bel-shazzar.” The “deity” Nebo also looms large behind the narrative and forms the basis for the names “Nebo-polassar” (in history), “Nebo-chadrezzar,” and “Nebo-Nidos” (Nabonidos seems to have been the last Babylonian monarch). Isaiah mentions “Bel and Nebo” as a kind of “pair” of deities, where Bel probably contracts “Ba’al,” the Samarian stumbling block according to the Kings and Chronicles — notably, these were very polytheistic times in Israel.
The Jews, as well as the early Christians and Puritans, have always been “Psalm-singers.” This is a source of polytheism that has been with the Jewish people and the churches throughout their existence. Interestingly, “Devout” Daniel does not sing any Psalms of David (or any other). A count of the number of polytheistic or else henotheistic references in the Psalms could easily top two to three dozen.
Theistic pluralism has always been the stuff of the Bible, and yet the plague of “idolatry,” which has always been with both the Jewish people and the Christians, always has its source labeled outside the community of faith in their own records. It’s the Bible, dummy.
The Bible has been promoting polytheism ever since “the Fall.” Deism, it turns out, actually represents the first faith (some would say philosophy) to promote true, ethical monotheism. Let the reader recall that the Muslim claim — their own claim now — is that the Koran restores the original Bible, which the text critics can assure it would exhibit a polytheistic (or at the least, henotheistic) document.
As deists, we maintain that ethical monotheism (EM hereafter) actually falls out this way:
- Deism = EM in philosophy (The Divine testimony of nature’s light as final truth and its ground, not a book)
- Vegetarianism = dietary EM — food from the vegetable kingdom only (grown from the ground) = food of one kind (I know, salt is a mineral, but it is also the exception that proves the rule)
- Monogamy = EM in marriage and sexuality (One man or else one woman, for all of life = Ethical MONO-theism in marriage).
- Money as gold (fully collateralized money only), or else platinum, is economic or fiscal EM
The doctrine of the fall or man and creation actually creates polytheism, a doctrine already refuted as this site. The God shown by the light of nature before the fall would nec. be a different God than the one displayed by nature AFTER the fall. And the two gods are quite incompatible. Bi-theism results from the false doctrine of the Judeo-Christian tradition of Genesis.
Surprising punchline? The Bible — supposedly the bulwark of monotheism in western civilization — misleads its readers into polytheism, in the nature of the case.
God, by way of the light of nature (the divine testimony) must always remains the final source of truth, wisdom, and goodness.