The teaching that there are many gods. In the Ancient Near East the nation of Israel was faced with the problem of the gods of other nations creeping into the theology of Judaism and corrupting the true revelation of God. Baal was the god of rain and exercised a powerful influence over the religion of many pagan cultures and even into the Jewish community. This is so because rain was essential to survival. Rain meant the crops would grow, the animals would have water, and the people would be able to eat. If there was no rain, death prevailed. Such visible realities often carried the spiritual character of the nation of Israel into spiritual adultery, that is, worshipping other gods. The Bible does recognize the existence of other gods, but only as false gods (1 Cor. 8:5>; Gal. 4:8>) and clearly teaches that there is only one true God (Is. 43:10>; 44:6>, 8>; 45:5>, 18>, 21>, 22>; 46:9>). (See Monotheism.)
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