The unshakable glory of monotheism

It’s Saturday night.  First, the LDS Yellow Dart gets me thinking about monotheism as he quotes Larry Hurtado, and now Nick is priming the pump for my excitement and joy in God.

Sunday is coming!

I hunger to worship corporately the one God!  The discussion only fuels the fire for church family worship.  Tomorrow, it is seeing afresh this God in Genesis, Isaiah (ch. 6), and John’s Gospel (ch. 12).

There is only one glory worth getting excited over.  God’s glory alone

The agape love for men’s glory? – what a pitiful trap (John 12:43).

11 comments

  1. This is not a zero-sum game: it was Ireneus, I believe, who said that the glory of God is the salvation of humanity. Conversely, the salvation of humanity is the glorification of God. Whatever is good for humanity, glorifies God. Whatever glorifies God is good for humanity.

    The Incarnation could not have taken place is humanity was not created capable of partaking of the Divine Nature.

  2. I don’t think monotheism, as the modern world understands it, is Biblical. Larry Hurtado’s version seems a lot more in accord with what the Bible teaches.

  3. jondh, how much of Hurtado have you read?

    I place the burden back upon you and Yellow Dart.

    How much do the scholars, Hurtado and Bauckham, fundamentally disagree with each other on the glorious God graciously revealed to us in the Bible?

  4. I haven’t read the sources you are referring to, but I have read God’s Word and it is a bright and shining truth that there is but one God, that there is no other god like Him. It is not enough to merely assert that we worship only one God, but that in all creation, in all that ever has or ever will exist, there is but one God who exists eternally in three persons. God is not ambivalent about this truth, the greatest condemnation in the Bible is reserved for those who whore after other gods. It is impossible to reconcile mormon doctrines of polytheism and human exaltation with the Biblical witness.

  5. I haven’t read any of Larry Hurtado past what TYD quoted, and I don’t presume to defend his research. I’m just taying that his explanation of monotheism in the Hebrew Bible seems to answer a lot more questions than does the modern, traditional monotheism, or what TYD calls “radical monotheism,” which interpretation creates a lot of contradictions in the Bible.

  6. Arthur,

    Although I don’t presume to speak from jondh, I believe he is referring to the fact–as virtually all modern biblical scholars recognize–that the biblical texts affirm that the God of Israel had a pantheon comprised of lesser gods. Hence, for instance, his designation as the “Most High God,” since there were other, lesser gods, over whom he presided. This council and these gods are referred to frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible, often by the terms bene elohim and bene elim, or elohim, etc (for a few examples see, for instance, Ps. 29; Ps. 82; Ps. 89; Deut. 32.8-9; Gen. 1.26-27 [cf. 3.22]; Gen. 6; Job 1-2, etc.). Just as an earthly king has a royal court filled with various attendants with whom he counsels and to whom he issues orders, so too the God of Israel had a heavenly assembly that carried out his orders and with whom he deliberated. The notion of a divine council over which a chief god presides is very prevalent throughout ancient Near Eastern literature, especially in ancient Mesopotamia and Canaan. However, the issue is not one of ontology or kind in the Hebrew Bible. The sons of god/gods are clearly real gods or deities given the fact that they are referred to through kinship/class terms that so identify them. I believe the contradiction that jondh is thus referring to is that many modern Judeo-Christian groups read the bible through a (heavily Greek) philosophical lends that attempts to interpret the bible through ontological categories foreign to the thought world of the biblical authors, and thus attempts to create a ontological distinction between the God of Israel and the gods of his council. However, as biblical scholars are well aware, and as I have just previously mentioned, such a reading is guilty of an anachronistic historical collapse, and such a “ontological” distinction of kind or being simply can’t be deduced from the biblical texts.

    If you are interested in researching this topic further I recommend John Day’s “Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan,” Mark Smith’s “Early History of God” and his other book “Origins of Biblical Monotheism,” as well as Simon Parker’s entry concerning the divine council in the DDD (Dictioary of Deities and Demons). There are a variety of other good scholarly sources as well. Good luck if you choose to really research the topic.

    Best wishes,

    The Yellow Dart

  7. I will have a series of posts on the divine council on my own blog, as well as the related topic of the original separation of ‘El and YHWH in ancient Israel, sometime in the next few months. When I write the posts I will comment here again to let everyone know who might be interested.

    Have a good night.

    TYD

  8. The “Uniqueness of God” doesn’t sound foreign to me when I read the inspired scriptural text, YD.

    I am not the Source of life as God is.

    I am not the Sustainer of life as God is.

    I am not the Resurrection and the Life as God is.

    I am not the Judge of all as God is.

    I am not the Master of nature as God is.

    I am not the Ruler over matter as God is.

    I am not triune in the sense that God is.

    I am not unique as God is (my uniqueness stretches as far a snowflake with other snowflakes).

    When the KJV translators called their earthly king, the Most High, in the front of the scriptures, there was a chasm between this most high and the Most High, whether king James believed it or not.

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