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Polytheism in the Bible

QUESTION: Is there polytheism in the Bible?


Polytheism is a term meaning the worship or belief in more than one god. In the ancient days, humanity used gods as a means of explaining their lives. Today we have science and observe cause and effect relationships, but before this existed people had no information on the stars, the sea, the rivers, the sun, etc.

For example, agriculture was, and continues to be, a major industry. The very life of an economy was dependent on the fertility of the land. Weather had a great effect on this; consequently, many in the ancient world devised the god, Baal, to oversee weather patterns and fertility rites. Baal was commonly worshipped throughout the Old Testament.

Some suggest God was cruel to the worshippers of Baal, Molech, and their pagan gods. We should keep in mind God's rationale. Molech, for example was an ancient fire god. The worshippers of Molech would lay their children in fire pits, where the children would pass through the fire to Molech. Furthermore, child sacrifice was not restricted to Molech. The notion of child sacrifice causes us to recoil in horror. Imagine how much more offensive this action would be to the heavenly Father of that child.

. . . "Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal - something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind" (Jeremiah 19:3-5). These idols were not gods; they were merely ideas. Worship is defined as a reverent love or devotion. An idol is anything that replaces, or is worshiped along with God, as God. Polytheism is a sin. As Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." It could be said that our society is based upon the accumulation of wealth; as a consequence, some worship both God and money. This is an example of polytheism.

We should not ignore its serious consequences of polytheism. We are created for God, not for our own desires. The question is whether or not you wish to serve the one true and living God, or do you wish to travel down another path?

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