I had written all my ABC Wednesday posts up to G. I said out loud, to myself, “What should G be for?” The Daughter said, “G is for God!” I thought to myself, “Which god?”
I had a rare opportunity to go to adult education at my church this spring; usually, it clashes with choir rehearsal. The leader of the study was showing a video, and the Christian theologian on the DVD made an interesting observation about how even some of the people of Israel occasionally worshiped many gods, such as Baal (pictured), although they were commanded otherwise, as in Exodus 20:
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…
Some modern interpretations of Scripture suggest that “other gods” meant money, fame, power, or the like. But many folks, far more versed in this than I, believe that it indicates, for many of the people of Israel, that they had been worshiping other deities, as the first response here suggests.
Of course, the Greeks and Romans had their own gods and goddesses, actually pretty much the same ones, with different names, as one can read here or here, e.g. Sad confession: most of what I know about the Norse gods I learned from Thor comic books. In most traditions, though, there were greater and lesser gods; Zeus/Jupiter/Odin is on a different level than the other deities.
There are multiple gods in other cultures as well. So it is rather amazing that, in this century, about half of the religious adherents worldwide declare themselves monotheists.
Here’s a story from Soulseeds, Searching for God:
A kindergarten teacher was walking around to look at each child’s artwork. As she got to one girl, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”
There have been countless visual depictions of God; not sure which ones are correct, if any. The song running through my head is One of Us by Joan Osborne (listen).
Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.