2.2. What Kind of God Do We Have?

The Development of Monotheism

Ideas change, the human ability to understand God develops

Polytheism – many gods exist (even if one is superior)

Henotheism – exclusive relationship with one god while acknowledging the existence of others

Monotheism – denial that other gods exist

Metaphors for God

Limitations of human mind and language

Symbol and metaphor as tools

Abuse of tools – taking them literally as constraints

Is God Human?

Is God male?

Can female imagery and metaphors apply to God?

Practice Drill

Biblical verses that assume polytheism, henotheism, or monotheism

Poll Everywhere pollev.com/toddhanneken457 (Administer)

Submitted Questions

Gods, nature, and reason

Gods were a way of understanding the unexplainable. This is of course years before the sciences prove certain processes that occur over the Earth.

Do miracles happen or was it pure coincidence?

Although the Israelites say "entire visible cosmos was created by God" what evidence do they give?


Ancient civilizations didn't have religious wars because many believed that there were probably many gods.
The ancients were tolerant and inclusive. How much peaceful our world would be today if everyone was accepting and respectful of others beliefs.

Could there be other civilizations who had similar ideas (monotheism) that are now extinct?


Control over a perfect being... Why would the Israelites even believe that they would have a chance with a being so perfect?

About God being transcendant... as opposed to what?

How does this statement from the textbook apply to us today? "People want to interact with their God. They want to be heard and they want some assurance or control over their relationship with God." ... I guess just wanting some communication or a sign that he was there.


How and why is God defined as ethical?

Could the Israelite obsession with an ethical God who makes ethical demands go too far, as in "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"?


When I first read the title of the article "what kind of god do we have?" I didn't have a specific answer but my answer would be "a powerful savior"

Things we will get back to later in the course

There are obvious answers about what is right and what is wrong, such as thou shall not kill, but what if killing was a good thing? When we act accordingly to these said rules we are rewarded, if not, punished. Often bad people are rewarded... why? Where is God's justice then?

"God does not need us, but God freely chooses to enter into a binding contractual relationship with us." Could this be a good place to begin the conversation of why evil exists? Because God is one of freewill and is upto us to uphold our end of the "contract"