Archive for November 2009

I believe in Zeus, Athena, and One God

November 13, 2009

What would happen if Zeus, Athena, Artemis, and the entire pantheon of Greek gods, Norse gods, etc. appeared before us all and asserted their existence?  Would the monotheistic religions be refuted?  The answer is no.  Jews, Muslims, and Christians would still boldly assert that there is only one God.  There are important distinctions between God and gods; hopefully this set of distinctions will help clarify what monotheists mean when they say that there is only one God.

1)  As mobile beings, the gods would be in potency in some way.  Only God is without potency.  Thus, the gods are not God.

2) To call the gods ‘gods’ and God ‘God’ is to commit an equivocation, just as ‘bat’ refers to a long piece of wood and a flying mammal.  When we speak of God and gods we are not speaking of the same type of thing.  For Christians, these other gods would be akin to angels, demons, or some really big powerful creature.  They would not be God.

3) The gods are a type of being, just as trees, pigs, and flowers are types of being, albeit a majestic type of being.  As such, they are part of the world.  God, on the other hand, is not a type of being at all, but the source of all types of being.  God is not a part of the world, but rather is a necessary condition for the world’s existence.

4)  To say that I believe in one God does not mean that He is merely the biggest, baddest god among the gods.  As parts of the world, the gods only exist because God sustains them in being.

Thus, to acknowledge the existence of one God does not mean that I must deny the existence of the gods.  As a matter of fact, I boldly state that I believe that Zeus, Athena, and the entire pantheon of gods exist (life is more interesting that way).  I also proclaim that I believe in only one God.