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Mars Hill Apologetic Discussions
More on "False Gods"
|:: MS: Your view presumes that these "gods" who
did not have the nature of gods are in fact living creatures, something
which cannot be proved from the text.
: ROBERT: First, do you concede that the contrast in Gal 4:8 is between the True God and gods that are not gods by nature (regardless of your view of the latter), as the WT says?
I re-read that article and still maintain that the word "production" shows that they were idols, not demons. In addition it says they were not "truly" gods, not that they were not the True God. The fact that this is plural both by Paul and the WT seems to mean that we are talking about mighty ones as opposed to vain idols.
: Now, are these gods living? It's not explicitly stated; however, I think Paul implicitly says as much. First of all, if the gods the Galatians were worshipping were not living creatures, they wouldn't have natures, would they? Doesn't having a PHUSIS presuppose a Being?
: The WT material I quoted says: "it was impossible for them to come into such status." Now, I must say, I'm impressed by the author of this article, because he clearly understood the import of ME in the Greek. The ME, as I'm sure you're aware, is emphatic, and gives the sense that the gods not only weren't gods by nature NOW, but that they could never be.
: Also, we know that Paul considered demons to be standing behind idols that the Corinthians were sacrificing to (1 Cor 10:20-21). The Bible is clear that this demoniac influence is not restricted to Corinth. Most Bibles, including the NWT, reference Deut 32:17 here, and with good reason. In this key convenantal passage, Moses distinguishes Jehovah from demons to whom his wayward people will sacrifice. These demons are called "gods" and "idols" (v 17 & v. 21), and we are told that they are "not God" (v. 21, singular this time, MS!). And what does Jehovah say regarding these gods? He says "there is no God EXCEPT me!" (LXX). I'm aware that some have argued that the Hebrew behind the word "except" actually means "with." I'm no Hebrew scholar, so I'm not prepared to argue one way or the other; however, the LXX translators chose to translate the word using PLHN. BAGD does not include "with" in any definition of PLHN, but renders it "except" for passages in the LXX with the genitive (this is a general reference with no specific verse citations). So, it seems clear that the LXX translators, at least, perceived that Jehovah was claiming ontological exclusivity (ME EP OU THEOU) with regard to the other "gods" - who were living beings - and this seems unaccountable to me if the theology of 2nd Temple Jews was similar to your own with regard to "gods."
: So, MS, we have evidence internally in the passage (implicit) and externally from Paul's other work and the OT which to which he alluded (explicit) that living "gods" who are not God/gods are idols to whom the nations sacrifice, and these are the 'gods' to whom Paul refers in Gal 4:8.
In fact we do have something explicit that runs counter to your view. How can anyone be more of something than if they are called that something? Angels are called elohim and are beneh elohim. I am sure you know what it means to be calls 'sons of ...' in the Hebrew. Sons of prophets were prophets, etc.
So no number of implicit Scriptures can overturn the explicit ones. We should rather use the explicit references to inform our interpretation of the ambiguous ones, should'nt we?
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