WARNING: controversial post. Enter at your own risk. Don’t burn me at the stake. Consider what I say.
Is Christian polytheism possible?
Don’t answer too quickly. I have an interesting passage to post for your comments.
Ancient Beliefs and Modern Interpretations: From Monolatry to Monotheism
In the Old Testament, it is ubiquitously shown that the Jewish nation adhered to monolatry. They believed in many gods, but Yahweh was their only God. This is distinct from henotheism, which involves the worship of many gods with one primary deity.
Transition in the New Testament: The Shift to Sole Deity Worship
However, in the New Testament, there appears to be a definite shift in worldview, from monolatry to monotheism.
The Concept of Redemptive Hermeneutics in Biblical Commandments
God permitted the belief in many gods in the Old Testament. He often accommodated incorrect views, progressively correcting them. This concept, known as redemptive hermeneutics, is evident in the first commandment, which states, “You shall have no other gods before me,” rather than the more definitive, “You shall have no other gods.”
Debating Monolatry in the New Testament Era
However, I often ponder this: Did God allow a form of monolatry in the New Testament? It seems that the apostles were phasing out this worldview, yet still tolerated it to some extent.
Apostolic Tolerance of Diverse Worldviews
Consider this passage where Paul speaks to the Corinthians:
“An idol is nothing at all in the world” and “There is no God but one.” 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 all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
“But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food, they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” (1 Cor. 8:4-8)
Monotheism vs. Polytheism: The Corinthian Christian Dilemma
From this passage, it seems that there were Christians who believed in more than one god. When Paul says, “but not everyone possesses this knowledge,” he refers to believers in the Corinthian church. Some did not understand the concept of monotheism. Isn’t that interesting? One might assume this would be among the first teachings of Paul, and perhaps it was during his time there. But it also seems possible that he had not yet taught this and assumed the people already knew. In my opinion, what seems indisputable is that some of these Corinthians were Christian polytheists.
Theological Evolution: Implications for Contemporary Christian Beliefs
If this is true, is it possible for people today to be messed up in their theology to such a degree that they are Christian polytheists?
Seeking Understanding: The Complexity of Early Christian Beliefs
What do you think? Where might my reasoning be flawed?