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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: When the God of the Bible Is Rejected

Don Stewart :: If the God of the Bible Is the Only One Who Exists, Then Why Does Scripture Speak of Other Gods?

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If the God of the Bible Is the Only One Who Exists, Then Why Does Scripture Speak of Other Gods?

When the God of the Bible Is Rejected – Question 11

Apart from the God of the Bible, could other gods possibly exist? Does the Bible have anything to say about the existence of other gods? From Scripture we learn the following:

1. There Are No Other Gods That Do Exist

The Bible is clear that there is only one eternal God who exists. Isaiah records the Lord saying the following:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” (Isaiah 43:10 NIV)

There was no god before Him neither shall there be any god formed after Him.

Isaiah also records the Lord saying this:

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me.” (Isaiah 45:5 NIV)

Again, we have the emphasis. There is no other god.

We find the same truth in the New Testament. Paul wrote to the Romans emphasizing the existence of only one God. He said,

...since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. (Romans 3:30 TNIV)

There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that only one God exists. Indeed, this is the unified belief from beginning to end.

2. These So-Called Gods Have No Substance

If only one God exists then why do we find Scripture making reference to false god? This is one of these issues where we must clearly understand what the Bible is saying. While the Bible makes reference to false gods, it does not state that these are actual gods who exist. We must appreciate this distinction. The Apostle Paul wrote,

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. (Galatians 4:8 NRSV)

Only one God exists. By nature, these so-called gods are not gods. In other words, they are called gods but they do not exist.

We read the following powerful statement in the Book of Jeremiah where the comparison is made between the true God and the gods that the various heathen nations worshipped:

But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’” (Jeremiah 10:10, 11 NIV)

Only the God of the Bible is the Creator or the universe. It was not these false gods which were inventions in the minds of people.

3. They Cannot Compare to the Biblical God

Scripture shows that these false gods are not to be compared with the one, true God. The Lord said the following of Himself:

“To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.” (Isaiah 46:5-7 NIV)

The Lord, the God of Scripture, is incomparable. Nobody can, or should, compare Him to these worthless idols that people have to carry around.

4. They Are Inventions in the Minds of Humans

This brings us to the origin of these gods. These so-called gods were inventions in the minds of people who rejected the truth of the one true God. Only the God of the Bible has real substance. The psalmist wrote,

For our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They cannot talk, though they have mouths, or see, though they have eyes! They cannot hear with their ears, or smell with their noses, or feel with their hands, or walk with their feet, or utter sounds with their throats! And those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:3-8 NLT)

Human hands create these idols. They cannot move, speak, or think for themselves. They have no ability to help those in trouble. In short, they are not real.

5. There Is No Room for Another God to Exist

Also there is no room in the universe for another God to exist. Scripture says that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. He is without limits. It would be absurd to believe that two unlimited beings could occupy the same space.

If another God did exist, then God would be limited. However, the Bible says God has no limitations.

Therefore, when Scripture speaks about other gods it is not acknowledging that they truly exist. It is using this term to compare these worthless idols to the one true God which does exist. Indeed, the Bible is clear as to which God exists and which gods do not.

Summary – Question 11
If the God of the Bible Is the Only One Who Exists, Then Why Does Scripture Speak of Other Gods?

The Bible says that only one God exists but it also speaks about false gods? Why does it do this?

While the Bible speaks of false gods, Scripture makes it clear that these gods have no real substance. Scripture never assumes that these gods have any reality. They are the imagination of those people who worship them. Only one God actually exists. These various gods of the heathen nations are only mentioned to contrast them to the God of Scripture who is indeed real. He exists, they do not.

Since the God of the Bible has given us reason to believe in His existence, whatever He might say on the matter of other gods is final. Because God says He is the only God who exists, this solves the question. There are no other true gods.

In addition, if another God did exist, then God would not be the self-existent, all-powerful God. Two all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present beings could not occupy the same space. There is only one all-powerful God in the universe. This is the God of the Bible.

What Is Henotheism? ← Prior Section
Is Everything That Exists Part of God? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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