Take, for example,
an uncommon word that can open your mind of confuse you further…
For more use the DOOR.
We claim, among others things, that we enjoy “words” and language. Here’s a series of religious words you may find informative. We won’t be heavy-handed, or too detailed, in defining them–you take take your own journey to do that if you feel so inclined.
One proviso from us, however. We’re steping into a sea of hundreds who’ve investigated (or diddled around) here and there, changing this word and that. When referring to the Judeo/Christian God, we’ll always use the capital “G”; when referring more broadly to “divinities,” which may even include the J/C God, we’ll use “g.”
Here’s our word list:
god — a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes.
polytheism (-ist) — belief that many gods exist.
monotheism (-ist) — belief that only one god exists.
monolatrism (-ist) or monolatry (-ist) — the worship of one true god [or God if referring to the J/C god] without excluding the existence of other gods, or claiming that only one god exists.
henotheism (-ist) — the belief in and worship of a single god [usually not the J/C God] while accepting, and often taking seriously, the possible existence of other gods.
Atenism (-ist) — A “brief,” odd period during the 1300’s BC when the Egyptians, under a pharaoh named Akhenaten, focused upon worshiping the sun god only, or almost exclusively.
Why all this here? Certain scholars from 150 years or so until today declare that the Jews of the Old Testament were monolatrists, rather than monotheists because of such expressions even found in the 10 Commandments. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” suggests, they say, that to early Jews other gods were real, and God acknowledges that, but demands they should be farther down the pecking order.
Books, of course, have been written about all this and what it might imply–not our subject here!
We will offer one rejoinder to what this might imply theologically [coloring is ours]:
2 Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity¹.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
5 Their idols² are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.”
Scarecrows in a cucumber field would seem to have a limited range of power.
¹ Jer. 10:3 Or vapor or mist.
² Jer. 10:5 Hebrew they.
English Standard Version (ESV) © 2001 Crossway Bibles, div. of Good News Publishers.