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Don Stewart :: What Is Henotheism?

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Don Stewart

Henotheism is the belief that many gods exists, yet the worship of only one of these gods. A henotheist would admit that many gods have real existence and are able to be worshipped. However the henotheist chooses to worship only one of these gods. This sets the henotheist apart from the polytheist who worships many gods.

There Are Problems With Henotheism

There are many problems with the henotheist position from a biblical standpoint. They include the following.

Only One God Exists

Scripture says only one God has real existence- there are not many gods that exist. Moses wrote.

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4).

The prophet Isaiah wrote.

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides me' (Isaiah 44:6).

Consequently there is not a choice among many gods as to which one a person can worship.

They Believe The Same As The Polytheists

Although henotheists worship only one of many gods, they admit to the existence of other gods. In this sense they are the same as the polytheists - they deny that only one God exists. The Bible denies this. Paul wrote.

For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through him (1 Corinthians 8:6).

There is only one God by nature - the God of Scripture.

However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods (Galatians 4:8).

Summary

The henotheist, like the polytheist, admits that many gods exist in the world. For whatever reason, they choose to worship only one of these gods. This is what distinguishes a henotheist from a polytheist. However, the Bible says that only one God exists - not merely only one God to be worshipped. All the others so-called gods are false gods.

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.