SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM
Mankind has always felt there is more to reality than the physical (i.e., affected by things out of their control, such as storms, eclipses, coment, weather, events, death, etc.). Anthropologists tell us they find things in the graves of primitive hominoids that apparently are for the next life, which they viewed as an extension of this life.
The first written culture was Sumer (soutnern Tigris, Euphrates Rivers), begun about 10,000 - 8,000 b.c. They wrote poems to express their view of the gods and their interacting. Again, much like humans with all their weaknesses. Their traditions existed in oral form long before they were written down.
There was a theological development from
The concept of "monotheism" (one and only one personal, ethical God with no female consort), not just the "high god" of polytheism or the good god of Iranian dualism (Zoroastrianism), is unique to Israel (Abraham and Job, 2000 b.c.). Only one rare exception briefly in Egypt (Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, 1367-1350 or 1386-1361 b.c., who worshiped Aten, the sun god, as the only god). See J. Assmann, The Mind of Egypt, pp. 216-217.
This concept is expressed in several phrases in the OT.
It must be admitted that this crucial doctrine has been revealed in progressive ways. The early statements could be understood as "henotheism" or practical monotheism (there are other gods, i.e., Jos. 24:15; 1 Kgs. 18:21), but only one God for us (cf. Exod. 15:11; 20:2-5; Deut. 5:7; 6:4,14; 10:17; 32:12; 1 Kgs. 8:23; Ps. 83:18; 86:8; 136:1-9).
The first texts that begin to denote a singularity (philosophical monotheism) are early (cf. Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 20:2-3; Deut. 4:35,39; 33:26). The full and compete claims are found in Isaiah 43-46 (cf. 43:10-11; 44:6,8; 45:7,14,18,22; 46:5,9).
The OT depreciates the gods of the nations as
The NT alludes to Deut. 6:4 in Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; and James 2:19. Jesus quotes it as the first commandment in Matt. 22:36-37; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27. The OT, as well as the NT, asserts the reality of other spiritual beings (demons, angels), but only one creator/redeemer God (YHWH, Gen. 1:1).
Biblical monotheism is characterized by
From the NT
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