The Other Gods of Deuteronomy

An LDS man who wanted to convince me that the Bible validates the notion of multiple gods used Deuteronomy 32:8 as a proof text. In the RSV (the translation he wanted to use for this verse) it says:

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.”

The LDS man made three claims: that “sons of God” is the more accurate translation; that these sons-of-God are gods themselves; and that these sons-of-God/gods are part of a “heavenly council of gods” to the “Most High God.”

To see if the man had a reasonable argument, I first went back to the Book of Deuteronomy and studied it carefully. As it turns out, Deuteronomy has A LOT to say about other gods. The following is a presentation of what I found. PLEASE take the time to read these verses so you will know that my representations and conclusions are fully supported by the Biblical text.

(And keep in mind that Bible translators use the all-caps word “LORD” for the Hebrew word יְהוָה which means “The Existing One.” “YHWH,” “Yahweh,” or “Jehovah” are the English renderings of יְהוָה For this reason, I will substitute “Jehovah” for “LORD” below).

Thou shalt have none other gods before me

Deuteronomy teaches that:

1 – The LORD God (Jehovah elohim) is the god of the nation of Israel, but other peoples/nations have/worship other gods (Deut 5:6; Deut 29:25-26; Deut 32:12)
2 – The LORD God is adamant that His people not have anything to do with the other gods, nor try to worship Him in the same way as the other people worship their gods (Deut 5:6-8; Deut 6:14; Deut 7:3-5; Deut 8:19; Deut 11:16-17; Deut 11:28; Deut 12:2; Deut 28:14-15; Deut 30:16; Deut 31:16-17)
3 – The god-worship done by the other nations includes “every abomination to the LORD” (one given example is the burning of their children) (Deut 12:31; Deut 20:18; Deut 29:18; Deut 31:18) and
4 – The LORD God is superior to all other “gods” (Deut 3:24; Deut 10:17)

These curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…The LORD shall bring thee… unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone

Deuteronomy tells us more about the gods of the other nations. It goes on to show that:

5 – The other “gods” being worshiped are just wood and stone — graven images/the work of men’s hands (Deut 28:36; Deut 28:64; Deut 4:25, 27-28; Deut 29:16-18; Deut 12:3)
6 – The other “gods” being worshiped are the sun, moon, and ‘host of heaven’ (Deut 17:2-5; Deut 4:15-16,19) and
7 – The other “gods” being worshiped are demons! (Deut 32:16-17)

Perhaps some of the “gods” are not really gods, but are some real?

No.

“For the LORD shall judge his people… he shall say, ‘Where are their gods… let them rise up and help you, and be your protection! See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me…'” Deut 32:36-39

“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” Deut 4:35

“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is none else.” Deut 4:39

Perhaps, according to Deuteronomy, Jehovah God is the only real god for our heaven and earth; but there are other real gods for other ‘heaven and earths’? Is this possible? No, for two reasons.

First, in all of Deuteronomy, and in fact, in all of the Bible, though the issue of “other gods” is brought up many, many, many times, NOT ONE TIME is any mention made of any other REAL god.

Second, should there be any confusion, the “I am the only God” verses in Deuteronomy have been restated and further clarified elsewhere in the Bible (eg., Isaiah 43:10, 44:6,24).

Mormon friend, it boils down to this. Given what is revealed about Jehovah — the LORD God, in the Bible — for you to claim or believe that there are other real gods anywhere (even in other universes, if they exist) you must believe that: 1 – Jehovah conceals the existence of other real gods, 2 – Jehovah is ignorant, or 3 – the Bible is not true (is not reliable/has been mistranslated). Since we were trying to use A BIBLE VERSE to prove the existence of other real gods in the first place, it is pointless to take the position that the Bible is not true/accurate. Next, throughout the Bible, not only does Jehovah repeatedly state that He is the only God, but He takes great care everywhere else in the Bible to say that the “other gods” are but idols. We cannot get around the fact that Jehovah God has clearly spoken on this issue. Lastly, could Jehovah be ignorant? Dare we assume Jehovah is not great enough to know of His peers? Only if we think we are greater than He is. “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

We must conclude that IF the 8th verse of the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy is really talking about “gods,” then they are only so-called gods, wrongfully worshiped, to a person’s detriment.

And the Most High God? Yeah, that’s Jehovah.

“…I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD (Jehovah), the most high God (elyon el), the possessor of heaven and earth…” (Genesis 14:22)

“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD (Jehovah) most high (elyon).” (Psalm 7:17)

“Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” Deut 4:39

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams… saying, Let us go after other gods (elohim)… that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD (Jehovah) your God (elohim)…” Deut 13:1-5

About setfree

God trusting, Bible believing, Jesus lover.

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55 Responses to The Other Gods of Deuteronomy

  1. setfree says:

    “The rituals performed in Ugaritic worship involved a great deal of alcohol and sexual promiscuity. Worship at Ugarit was essentially a drunken orgy in which priests and worshippers indulged in excessive drinking and excessive sexuality.”

    It’s so funny. A Mormon is willing to chase down every pagan branch to find Mormonism – the only thing they cannot trace down and find commonality with is Biblical Hebrew/Christian monotheism.

  2. Mike R says:

    Setfree said,

    “A Mormon is willing to chase down every pagan branch to find Mormonism…”

    When I think of how some Mormons have the need to strain the Bible to find something that resembles evidence of there being other true gods, its because I think they have a vested interest in doing so because of their desire to become gods themselves one day. The following testimony is evidence of this kind of desire:

    My Mormon picture of god is that he was a man like me. Infact there were three gods that were men that ruled over my Mormon life. Jesus was my older brother and my perfect example of how to become a god. The Holy Ghost was another brother that had figured out to achieve godhood, and Elohim(god the father) was my literal father in heaven. Elohim had proved himself faithful on another world and received godhood for his reward these gods had become my equal. They were simply colleagues that had learned the proper way to perfect themselves and bring glory to their names. My identity was wrapped up in the idea of who these gods were.

    I perceived the world differently as a Mormon. Those who had not lived valiantly in the pre-existence were cursed to be born black, dark or yellow skinned or into Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim homes. These births were considered punishment for not living valiantly in the pre-mortal realm. I believed that I was a chosen valiant servant of God. I had been born with white skin and into a Mormon home under the eternal covenent of marriage….The truth about my Mormon god was…He was just a man that existed before me who was trapped in his physical body. He could only be in one place at one time and was dependent on other gods for his power and dominion.

    My view of God and myself changed drastically when I became a Christian. In contrast of the finite gods of Mormonism, God had always been the only God in the entire universe. He never planned on making more gods besides himself. He did not need to make me

  3. Mike R says:

    cont.

    or save me for more power and dominion. He already had full dominion without me….I was not the literal child of God, I was his wayward creation He loved enough to die for. God literally adopted me as His son, He chose to save me. I was no longer His equal. No longer was God a colleague….I discovered the glory I longed for as a Mormon belonged only to God not to me. My view of God and myself was completely turned upside down. I began to understand that God was so powerful that He could not be contained within the Heavens, that there was no place that I could go to escape His presence and I became aware that I was a sinner without pre-mortal worthiness. My false Mormon beliefs had been setting me up for a fall. Jesus warned us

    ‘For everyone who exaults himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exaulted.’ (Luke 18:14).
    I had exaulted myself as an equal to God and brought God down to my own level. I did not know Jesus or God….” [testimony of Andy Poland, of Concerned Christians Ministry, in The Cross Newsletter summer 2009 ]

  4. setfree wrote

    Martin, thanks for the rebuke.

    Oops, I hope I didn’t come over that strongly – “help you sharpen your tools” maybe? “Rebuke” sounds like I gave you a good slapping – not what I intended. NVM, LOL.

    Nice to see the Hebrew, BTW. I’m glad you found out how to do it.

    If ever you get time, it’s worth studying the name YHWH, which is mostly used as the special Covenant Name for the God of Israel. I’ve posted my thoughts here to Ralph on numerous previous occassions, and I’m in danger of repeating myself. In the context of this thread, however, it is worth noting that YHWH, which is roughly translated as “I am” (Ex 3:14) (or, more technically, probably “I will be what I will be”), is very singular.

    (PS The TXT acronyms above are kind of deliberate. Modern TXT language is in many ways similar to ancient Biblical Hebrew, which had no vowels and was highly condensed and economical because it was very expensive to write. Imagine, 2000 years from now, trying to explain to someone what “LOL” meant.)

  5. Edward Bailey says:

    Are you referring here to the divine council writing by Emanuel Tov? Which text do we lean on with the differences between the masoretic, Septuagint, and qumran texts? I saw a reference from dts on the problems on the table of nations/song of moses sons of divine beings scriptures. http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/O

    The other one was that Triumph of Elohim book compiled by Edelman. Ugarit had the more "family council" view whereas orthodoxy (ignoring theosis) has the more causeless cause infinite out of zero. I suppose Stephen Hawking would throw out the divine being of love and fill the cause of creation with the god of gravity! Has anyone responded to beckwith? usually they use the everett many worlds view.

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