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‘God of the Ages’
Polytheistic Notes from the Monotheistic Word
© 2023 James LaFond
MAR/4/24
Note that God of the Ages, in the pagan view, might refer to Chronos [Time] imprisoned by Zeus, or Zeus himself, who held the primary cult name of Time-holder and was explicitly the almighty divine actor operating outside the bounds of Time. The idea that there were more than one god among Christians holds down to the author of the Song of Roland circa A.D. 1000, in which the poet accuses Muslims of calling upon Mahound and Apollo, in other words of continuing in pagan faith. Saint Paul might seem to agree:
“For this very night their stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong...”
-Acts 27:23, Paul speaking to the sailors and soldiers conducting him into bondage in Rome
The claim of Monotheism, as the worship of only one God, down through Time, became the worship of The Only God. Whether this was simple civilized nihlism creeping into the faith or a misunderstanding of True and False in a materialistic sense, the result was ultimately, atheism. For the denial that all but one supernatural or immortal beings exists paves the way for the denial of that final vestige of superstition. The normal path is to begin framing God as a metaphor for Nature or the Cosmos.
Despite the obvious inference that Paul was loyal to one power among others, the negation of the supernatural is most easily achieved with a focus on the Gospels. For a focus on the Old Testament puts any thinking reader into contact with the militant polytheism of the ancient Jews, who served only The Most High God in a brutal world terrorized by supernatural powers. Below a reading of Sirach turns up various polytheistic references and inferences.
Do note, that since the time of The Reformation, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) has been regarded as non-canonical by Protestants. The controversy concerning the books of Esdras 1 and 2, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch with the Letter of Jeremiah, additions to Daniel and Esther, seem to have stemmed not from the Council of Nicaea or Trent but originated in the debates between Jews and early Christians beginning in A.D. 71, with Early Modern Protestants adopting the ancient Jewish position rather than the primitive Christian position. However, for the study of how the earliest Christians to convert from non-Judaic pagan faiths to the new interpretation of The Divine Word, such documents rejected by latter day Christian sects in favor of the rabbinical opinion of Late Antiquity are most instructive as to the appeal of Christianity.
Sirach
28: 17, “The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones.” Represents a realistic debt-based slave-society view of slander opposed to “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” which was a delusion rhyme taught in my childhood.
28: 21 “Hades” the pagan term for the underworld inhabited by the dead is explicitly named, as it is elsewhere.
34: 6, On dreams one is advised, “Unless they are sent from the Most High as a visitation, do not give your mind to them,” indicating a belief in malevolent “false” gods, surrounding a supreme God.
36:17, The descendants of Aaron are declared as the servants of “the God of the ages,” which a pagan would make to be Zeus, as he would the “Most High” above.
38:2, the “Most High” is the only power that brings healing to mankind through the medicines he placed in the world, the physician merely a technical agent.
43: 13-20, “By his command he sends driving snow and speeds the lightning of his judgment,” revealing the God of Israel as the thunderer so common to northern Аrуаn myth, causing “The cold north wind blows, and ice freezes over the water, and water puts it on like a breastplate.” This last image is very like the description of Pytheas who journeyed to Thule until he saw a frozen ocean that “heaved like a lung.”
44: 20, The “Most High” is named in such a way as to be suggestive of the chief in command of various powers.
46:5, 6, “He called upon the Most High, the Mighty One, when enemies pressed on every side, and the great Lord answered him with hailstones of mighty power,” again suggestive of Zeus, Jove or Thor.
46:16, 17, The account of Joshua the son of Nun, continues with references to God as the Mighty One wielding thunder.
47:18, “In the name of the Lord God, who is called the God of Israel,” again suggests that the Jews worship exclusively the most powerful of deities. In ancient times the words usually translated as Lord would actually mean “chief” or “paramount” not “only.” In fact, Zeus merely means Thunder [Z] -Chief [eus] with the latter 3 letters most commonly translated as “lord,” very much like the thundering Lord invoked in the Bible, in Exodus as well.
49:8 “It was Ezekiel who saw the vision of glory which God showed him above the chariot of the Cherubim,” which would translate to Helios Apollo to a pagan.
50:7, “...like the sun shining upon the temple of the Most High” indicates other higher powers than man, with worship being conducted just like Xenophon pouring out wine for Zeus of Oaths, “he reached out his hand to the cup and poured a libation of the blood of the grape” 15, and “the Almighty, God Most High” answered this prayer in passages 17 to 21.
51: Hades is further named as the place of the dead.
A reading of this and other Old Testament texts would serve a converted priest of Zeus, Jove or Apollo Helios, or any classically educated poet of Late Antiquity in not only accepting the Gospels and Scripture promoted by Paul and the Apostles, but vesting their conversion in their own pagan past, seeing in their own mythic legacy from earlier antiquity a muddled prologue to the faith that would be adopted by the entire Greek and Latin speaking world.
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