The Bible says our God is the “God of gods.” Does that mean there are other gods? Sort of.
Who Created Everything?
The Bible begins by telling us that “God” created everything, right? Well, Genesis 1 actually says “elohim” created the heavens and the earth. Who or what is “elohim”?
“Elohim” are a category of beings, like “felines” are a category of animals.
Just as there are many creatures in the category “felines,” from house cats to cougars to jaguars, there are many beings in the category “elohim” too.
It’s not until Genesis 2 that we find out exactly who from among the elohim created everything: “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God (Yahweh elohim) made the earth and the heavens.”
So Many Elohim!
“Elohim” are the spiritual beings, not the name of one being. (Sorry, my Mormon friends.) When “elohim” is clearly referring to Yahweh, it is often translated simply as “God.” But there are many more elohim!
In Exodus 20 we’re told to have “no other elohim” before Yahweh. In Exodus 12, Yahweh defeats the many “elohim” of Egypt. Many times in the bible Yahweh is depicted as the king or general with many elohim serving as Yaweh’s army or council, the “hosts of heaven” (Psalm 89, 1 Kings 22:19). In Samuel 28 the prophet is conjured from the grave by a sorceress who exclaims, “I see an elohim coming up out of the earth!“ The “elohim” are spiritual beings. And Yahweh is one of them.
No Other God?
And yet, the bible also tells us there is “one elohe” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and “beside him there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:35). How can this be?
The writer of Deuteronomy says Yahweh is “one” (ehad), or first, cardinal, supreme; and there is no other among the elohim like Yahweh (literally: “apart from” Yahweh [there is] “not again” Yahweh).
These passages in Deuteronomy, and elsewhere in the Old Testament, aren’t denying the existence of many elohim. They are praising Yahweh as unique and incomparable and above all elohim.
There are many spiritual beings. But the head of them all is Yahweh, the God of gods and Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17).
Elohim And Us In The New Testament
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 that idols are just pieces of wood made by men. They’re not God (theos), the supreme One, Maker of men. There are many gods (theoi) and lords (kyrioi) talked about in Corinth, Paul says, but our God (theos) is the “Father from whom all things came and for whom we live, and our Lord is Jesus the Christ through whom all things came and through whom we live.”
Some of the elohim have turned on Yahweh and now vie for our allegiance in hopes of using us in their war against Yahweh. In Ephesians we’re told Jesus came to create a new, unified humanity out of all the nations. When we’re divided by political, socio-economic, cultural, racial differences, that’s evil at work among us. Our struggle, Paul says, isn’t “against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the spiritual realms.”
There are beings of the “spiritual realms,” Paul reminds us. Some of them want to divide what Christ has unified, destroy what Christ has accomplished. Remain allegiant to Yahweh, he pleads, and don’t join “the powers” in their destructive work against Christ and the Church.
Among felines, the lion is king. Among elohim, the unrivaled, unparalleled, incomparable Yahweh reigns supreme above all. “The Lord our God is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Worship and serve Yahweh alone.
Further Viewing & Reading:
- Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible by Dr. Michael S. Heiser (popular)
- “Spiritual Beings” video series from The Bible Project (popular)
- One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion And Ancient Jewish Monotheism by Larry W Hurtado (academic)
- Jesus And The God Os Israel: God Crucified And Other Studies On The New Testament’s Christology Of Divine Identity by Richard Bauckham (academic)