The Bible does not teach Monotheism
Debate Rounds (4)
Pro will argue that the Bible does not teach Monotheism
Con will argue that the Bible does teach Monotheism
Round 1 for con is acceptance
Round 2-3 arguments and rebuttals
Round 4 rebuttals and closing statements, no new arguments.
Again the definition of monotheism as presented in round one is "the doctrine or belief that there is only one God."
Consider the following verses from the Bible that imply the existence of other Gods
A: Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:"(1)
Notice that it does not say and I God will make man in my image, and after my likeness.
B: Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."(2)
Notice that it does not read I am the only God and worship me.
C: John 10:34 "3 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"(3)
There you have it out of the mouth of Jesus Christ himself saying gods, as in plural.
This leads to the conclusion that despite "Christians" believing in monotheism. The Bible teaches the idea of Henotheism.
Henotheism: "the worship of a particular god, as by a family or tribe, without disbelieving in the existence of others."(4)
D: Consider the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verses 4-6
"4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."
Paul here eludes that there may exists other "Gods" however that for "us" (Christians) there is one God. Christians believe in what is called the "true" God. This does imply that there are no other Gods, just that there is a "true" God or in other words the God you should follow.
E: Jeremiah 10:10 "But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king"(5)
The Bible teaches that followers of Christ can become Gods. Consider the following Scriptures.
F: Philippians 2:5-6 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."(6)
Paul even talks about becoming a God Through Christ
G:Philippians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."(7)
He teaches that we are Children and heirs of God
H: Romans 8:16-17 "16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."(8)
Conclusion of what the Bible teaches
A,H: "Let Us make man in Our image." We are the children of God""
B,D,E: "No other Gods before me" "as there be gods many, and lords many," "the Lord is the true God"
C,F,G,H: "ye are gods" "thought it not robbery to be equal with God" "high calling of God" "Joint heirs with Christ"
If the Bible teaches that we are children of God, can become like God, are warned not to worship other Gods then the Bible does not teach monotheism.
A. The passage from Gen. 1:26 cannot be isolated from the rest of the creation account. In verse 2, we read that the "Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." The Spirit of God is something distinct from God, or it would have just read "God." Yet, the Spirit is still "of God," implying a unity. Verse 26 says "God said, 'Let us make man...'" Note, it was one God (not 'gods) saying "let us." The context does not hint anywhere else to multiple deities, and to insert that here is to impose an interpretation onto the text.
B. Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me." Again, context is key. The Hebrews were just rescued out of polytheistic Egypt where the worship of many deities was practiced. For the LORD to tell his people to not worship any other gods does not give us any detail to their ontological nature. The commandment is a matter of worship (like of of the commandments), not a statement of metaphysical reality.
C. In John 10:34, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 where God is seated in his heavenly council, among beings he calls "sons of God." However, the Hebrew word "elohim" is used in the Scriptures to address humans, in places like Psalm 82. The "gods" in the passage judge among men, making them more likely to be men. Moreover, they "die" and "fall," both things that God cannot do. Therefore, this does not lead to henotheism.
D. The 1 Cor. 8:4-6 identifies this issue. For, Paul even says "we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.'" What Paul explicitly says is that there are many gods and lords, but they are nothing more than idols. "There is no God but one." That excludes the possibility of of any other god.
E. Kasmic's interpretation of Jer. 10:10 is faulty. To show that this text is completely monotheistic, all we need to do is see the opposites of the adjectives. "True" would become "false," "living would become "dead," and "everlasting" would become "fading." So, we can know these things:
1) the LORD is the true God, not a false god
2) He is a living(real) God, not a dead(nonexistent) idol
3) He has always been God and will always be God. He has never been created nor will he cease to be.
Therefore, this passage, and indeed all of the Bible, teaches that we should follow God because he is the only true, living, and everlasting God. All other "gods" are idols with no divine significance. As verse 11 goes on to say "the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens."
F. The reading of "form of God " in Phil. 2:6 is "morphe theou," meaning that Christ has the same nature and ontological status as God. But, if Christ was a man, then he could never achieved the same godhood as the LORD. For, something to become God is "less god" than a God that has always been God (Jer. 10:10). But since the text says Christ is of the same nature as God, that means he is the same God as God. He always has been and always will be.
G. Paul's statement in Phil. 3:14 does not necessitate an interpretation of his becoming a God. In verse 12, Paul says, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." We must ask what Paul means by "this." Paul speaks about attaining the resurrection from the dead in verse 11, and that flows through his thought until the end of the chapter. So, when Paul says that he "press(es) on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own," he is talking about making the resurrection his own. Because Jesus has gracious made Paul his own, Paul presses on to make Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus, his own. This continues through verse 14, making it plain that the "upward call of God in Christ Jesus" is the resurrection of the dead. It is in Christ Jesus that the resurrection is found. So, in short, the upward calling of God is the resurrection (not godhood), which is found in Christ, and to whom pull presses on.
H. Romans 8:15 identifies the Spirit as the "Spirit of adoption." Keep in mind the historical background in which this epistle was written. In ancient Rome, when someone was adopted, they were written into the will and could never be written out of the will. Once in, always in. A will deals with inheritance. So, to be identified as heirs, children of God, and fellow heirs with Christ, then we receive the inheritance that God gives to his children. And that can never be taken away from us.
This passage does not say anything about ontological status. To become children of God is does not signify anything about our substance. It simply identifies that we have been adopted into his family and will receive the inheritance he has for those he adopts.
A. Exodus 15:11 says, "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"
For Moses to say "who is like you...among the gods?...majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?" does not imply that there are numerous deities, though one may be tempted to think that way. We know this because, Moses is drawing a comparison here. "Who is like you, O LORD?" The answer is clear: none. Moses is praising God for being greater than the "gods" the Egyptians worship. God, the true God, is authoritative, in control, and present. He is also absolute and personal..1 Anything not authoritative, in control, present, absolute and personal, is not God, human or non-human.
B .Isa. 44:6-8 says, "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any."
First, we must note that when the LORD says something, it is final. He is all knowing. So when he says, "Is there a God besides me?...I know not any," that means there are no other gods to be known. If God does not know something, then that something does not exist. Therefore, there are no other gods beside the one God, Yahweh.
C. Isaiah 43:10 says, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." God clearly states here that no god was created before him and no god was created after him. This clearly excludes the possibility of man becoming a god, or of God once being a man.
D. A note on presuppositions: Both Kasmic and I have presuppositions coming into this debate. These are beliefs that take precedence over other beliefs. I have them, Kasmic has them, everyone does. My presupposition is that the Bible is the only infallible Word of God. Kasmic's presupposes that the Bible is not the only Word of God, but the Book of Mormon is also. So, we are operating on two completely different worldviews.
When it comes to the interpretation of the Bible, I believe that the Bible interprets itself because God is his own interpreter. However, Joseph Smith's exegetical and editorial/translational method has placed him as a higher authority than the Bible. Because, to change what the Bible says is to claim to have truth that the Bible does not have.
All of this to say, when we come to the biblical text with a presupposition that the Bible does not teach, we run into epistemological errors. In order to understand the Bible, we must take the Bible on it's own terms. To truly understand the Bible, we must consider it as the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, comprehensive, sufficient, Word of God.1
1. I am greatly indebted to John M. Frame for his work in theology and philosophy. Much of the thought behind what I have written is owed to him. To read his work on this subject, see chapter 20 and 26 of his Systematic Theology.
I appreciate Con producing context to some of the verses that I used. As the saying goes "a text without a context is a pretext." (lol)
A: Con says of Genesis 1:26 ". In verse 2, we read that the "Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." The Spirit of God is something distinct from God, or it would have just read "God." He then concludes ", it was one God (not 'gods) saying "let us." The context does not hint anywhere else to multiple deities, and to insert that here is to impose an interpretation onto the text."
I submit the text from verse two "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."(1)
This verse does not definitively show that "The Spirit of God is something distinct from God.." I ask Con to whom is God referring when he says "us" and "our" if not another God? Here is an example of what my opponent is suggesting. My spirit and I are writing this argument and yet I would I say to my spirit let "us" write "our" argument?! Of course not; unless con believes God is a schizophrenic, I maintain my position that the use of the words "us" and "our" does imply multiple Gods.
B: In regards to Exodus 20:3 Con states ". For the LORD to tell his people to not worship any other gods does not give us any detail to their ontological nature." Sure it does, would not it be simpler to say there are no other Gods to worship, as opposed to "no other Gods before me." I maintain that this implies the existence of other Gods.
C: John 10: 34. Con states "the Hebrew word "elohim" is used in the Scriptures to address humans," this is true, again as I maintain that humans are "gods in embryo." The Hebrew translation of this word verifies my usage of this word. Jesus uses this word to refer to Humans
Elohim. [The basic form]
God; gods. The plural form of El, meaning "Strong One." The Name Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the Tanakh. See Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; etc. (2)
"Elohim (אֱלֹהִים) is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language."(3)
D: 1 Cor. 8:4-6 Con says "identifies this issue," and that the verse "excludes the possibility of of any other god." I again invite those reading to read those verses for themselves. (4) it includes the phrase "as there be gods many, and lords many," I again would say "Paul here eludes that there may exists other "Gods" however that for "us" (Christians) there is one God. Christians believe in what is called the "true" God. This does not imply that there are no other Gods, just that there is a "true" God or in other words the God you should follow." I leave it to the readers to decide
E: Jeremiah 10:10: all we have to do is read verse 11. "Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens."(5) This scripture still refers to these "false" and capable of "perishing" beings as "gods." Also I would note that this verse does not say all other Gods just the ones that "have not made the heavens, and earth." This verse affirms the existence of other gods.
F: Phil. 2:5-6 " 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"
This is probably as strait forward as can be" "let this mind be in you, (think these things) which was also in Christ Jesus: (things that Christ also thought) "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God"
G: Phil. 3:14 " I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."(7) Again I affirm that this does necessitate Paul striving to become a God. It is a very strait forward scripture indeed. "I press toward the mark ( to press or move toward) for the prized (reward) of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (in/through) It is evident that Paul is saying that he is moving forward, pushing for the prize of the call of God that comes through Christ Jesus.
H: Romans 8:16-17 I Affirm that this verse does imply that ability to become as God. I submit the definition of heir. "a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit the rank, title, position, etc., of another."(8) (As a side note, I did not use the first definition or second due to the belief that God cannot die.) We are "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." Who as con stated "meaning that Christ has the same nature and ontological status as God."
Concluding affirmation of argument
As I concluded in round two "If the Bible teaches that we are children of God, can become like God, are warned not to worship other Gods then the Bible does not teach monotheism."
Rebutting cons argument
A: Exodus 15:11 "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"(9) Con says this verse "does not imply that there are numerous deities, though one may be tempted to think that way." It is tempting because this verse does in fact affirm the existence of other Gods. Con Goes on to say "Moses is praising God for being greater than the "gods" I concede this point, because I agree. Moses is praising God for being the greatest God. If there are no other Gods how can God be great. Great is a comparative word, and Moses by saying that God is greater implies greater than other "gods." I thank Con for providing this verse as it fits perfectly.
B: Isa. 44:6-8 This verse does say "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."(10) This is by far the best contention that Con has set forth. However, when the Lord say "I know not" this does not mean that they do not exist" for example Mathew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (11) Does this mean he never knew those he is talking too? Of course he is not.
Con also said "we must note that when the LORD says something, it is final. He is all knowing. So when he says, "Is there a God besides me?...I know not any," that means there are no other gods to be known. If God does not know something, then that something does not exist. Therefore, there are no other gods beside the one God, Yahweh."
To this logic I ask Con what about the words he said "ye are gods," "let us make man in our image." Are those words not also spoken with the same authority and just as "final."
C: Isaiah 43:10 Again I would state that the Lord is portraying his significance in our salvation. He is the "way truth and light." He is the only way we can be saved. From our perspective there are none other that can save us and therefore there are (to us) no other Gods that can save us, ergo wording "no other God," as Paul portrayed in 1 Corinthians.
D: Con says ". My presupposition is that the Bible is the only infallible Word of God. Kasmic's presupposes that the Bible is not the only Word of God, but the Book of Mormon is also. So, we are operating on two completely different worldviews."
To this I will apply Mathew 4:4 "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."(12) I believe that all that God says is scripture, I believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is translated correctly. I also believes that God Speaks, not spoke. Due to his omnipotence and omniscience I would be foolish to limit his words and say he can speak no more.
Con says "When it comes to the interpretation of the Bible, I believe that the Bible interprets itself because God is his own interpreter. However, Joseph Smith's exegetical and editorial/translational method has placed him as a higher authority than the Bible. Because, to change what the Bible says is to claim to have truth that the Bible does not have"
To this I apply Ephesians 4: 11-14 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
The verses I have used in this debate are from the King James version of the Bible they are not translated versions from Joseph Smith. I do believe that, as this verse says, God will continue to call "apostles, and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; until we come in the unity of the faith."
I would like to clarify that this last portion of Cons argument and my responses are more of conversation of doctrine not readily applicable to the debate and that the judges remember this debate is about Monotheism and the Bible, not so much about Mormonism, and Born again Christians.
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Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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