Monotheism and Polytheismby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
How did Monotheism and Polytheism merge and divide over time?
Original Monotheism rapidly devolved into Polytheism until Abram left his father's gods and became a Monotheist.
There has been much controversy through the ages between people groups and religions that are monotheistic and those that are polytheistic. No one knows when it really began, perhaps with Noah, perhaps in the tower of Babel. Which come first, Monotheism or Polytheism? And what exactly are they?
Monotheism is the belief in a single, all powerful God. The word Monotheism derives from the Greek words theos – which means god and monos – which means one. Polytheism is the belief in many gods. Polytheistic religions include all religions except Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism, the only monotheistic religions. A character trait of all monotheistic religions that has shown up all through history is that they believe that God created all reality and is totally self-sufficient. Also monotheistic religions are exclusive. They deny existence of gods of all other religions, unlike polytheists who believe that there can be more gods than what they themselves worship, The only time that Monotheists have been seen as tolerant of other religions is when they are beginning to move from monotheism to polytheisms and see other gods as reincarnations of their god to help explain away their ultimate God. Monotheism was the first religion. Belief in God began with Adam and Eve though some say that the true monotheistic religions began with either Abraham or Moses when he received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. As religions de-evolved many became polytheists. They became polytheists because they wanted gods that they could control themselves to explain away, or give licenses to their lifestyles that God would not tolerate. Many secular philosophers and even some theologians argue that monotheism evolved from polytheism saying that “Polytheistic faiths were more primitive and monotheistic faiths more advanced – culturally, ethically, and philosophically.” According to those who have no belief in God whatsoever, if polytheism came from monotheism, it must have de-evolved. It could not have evolved.
Monotheism began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is no evidence of people really turning away from that, and God, until you get to the time of Noah. In Genesis 6 you find that the sons of God married any daughters of men that they choose and had children by them. One can also see that their every inclination was evil; the earth was corrupt and full of violence. Men had turned away from God. God decided to wipe out the earth but he decided to save Noah and his family and two of every animal because Noah had found favor with God. At least one family was still monotheistic. After the flood God told Noah and his sons to multiply and fill the earth. They multiplied but did not exactly fill the earth.
They migrated to a plain where the King at that time, Nimrod founded the city
of Babylonia in the ancient country of Chaldea. No one knows for sure the size
of Babylonia; there are many different estimates, the lowest of which is 100
mi2 roughly 5 times the size of modern day London. At that time they only had
one language and during that time the mother-child cult that still continues
today was founded. It was begun by Nimrod and his wife. Nimrod was beginning
to be revered as a god and his wife, Semirams, as a goddess. Semirams had a
son that she claimed was virgin born. A cult centered on her and her son. During
this time of change in religion, around 2900 BC, the people begun to build their
tower of Babel. Some people say that they wished to build the tower to reach
heaven. Others say that it was because they wanted glory along with God, or
the gods that they believed in. Still others say that it is so they will not
be scattered and forgotten. Genesis 11:4 says “Then they said, ”Come,
let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so
that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of
the whole earth.” But when God saw the tower it displeased him and he
came down, confused the men’s language and scattered them all across the
face of the earth. The tower of Babel or Confusion, as that is what Babel meant,
was aptly named, a few of the cultures that sprang up out of Babylonia’s
confusion where the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Old Empires of Babylon,
Egypt, and Crete. There is archaeological evidence that gods and goddesses of
later Rome, Greece, India, and Egypt sprang up out of the pantheon of gods and
goddesses worshipped in Babylonia. Even after that there other “gods”
created as kings insisted that their subjects worshipped them either instead
of or as well as the other gods that they worshipped. This new Empires lasted
about 1500 years until 1500 when the largest volcanic explosion in recorded
history, that of Thirra on Santorin Island in the Aegean Sea wiped them out.
That explosion coincided with God’s parting of the Red Sea as Moses led
the monotheistic Israelites out of polytheistic Egypt.
Moses was raised a polytheist by the Egyptian pharaoh, he met God and became a monotheist when he realized that he was actually an Israelite. The Israelites were, and still are a monotheistic culture and religion. Archeological evidence has turned up many religious inscriptions. 6% of those inscriptions mention someone other than God. The other 94% percent mention God. Moses met God in burning bush in the wilderness and was told to lead God’s people, the Israelites, out of slavery. He lead them out with God’s help and many miracles in about 1500 BC. While wandering in the wilderness God told the Israelites many things. One of them is Deuteronomy 4:35 when speaking of the miracles in Egypt God says “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.” Apparently the Israelites don’t listen to well because at Mt. Sinai when Moses went up to get the Ten Commandments they had Aaron build them a golden calf. But when Moses returned those that had worshipped this calf were killed when the Lord caused the ground to open up and swallow them. The Lord is a jealous God. He does not tolerate fake Gods.
While religions have changed over the ages Polytheism has de-evolved from Monotheism. Even secular philosophers polytheistic theologians have admitted that for polytheism to come from monotheism means that it must have de-evolved. Monotheism was in place even before there were people, before God created people to worship and glorify himself and no others.
1. What year did the tower of Babel take place?
2. The greatest volcanic explosion in recorded history took place on an island
in what sea?
a. Black Sea
b. Mediterranean Sea
c. Aegean Sea
d. Caspian Sea
e. Red Sea
3. What Empires sprang up out of the Tower of Babel?
b. Indus Valley Civilization
e. All of the above
4. Moses lead the Isrealites out of what country?
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