***DISCLAIMER***The following is far from an exhaustive answer to the question. it is simply an answer nonetheless.
Recently someone asked me some questions regarding how to respond to a neo-Pagan about Mormonism. Below is the person’s question followed by my response to it. The questioner did not really ask for a biblical refutation. However, in my summarization of the person’s questions, I narrowed it down to a simple refutation of the “multitude of gods” doctrine.
Hi. I was on an open forum in a discussion about Mormonism.
One of the other people in the discussion is a neo-pagan who claims that Mormon theology is biblically based. When I pointed out that most of their theology is based on the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, his response was, “Their ‘controversial’ bits, such as multitude of gods, fleshly heavenly beings, deification of men, and separation of YHWH & El all have clear biblical backing. Long rejected by orthodoxy but backed up by modern biblical scholars, some hold to these ideas in unanimity.”
I have seen many secular biblical “scholars,” or rather critics, make similar claims, such as a differentiation between Yahweh and El (as popularized by the documentary hypothesis) and a multitude of gods that unorthodox and secularist critics infer from Genesis 1 and Genesis 11. Having looked into these claims long ago and found them lacking, however, I’m not sure where to start in response to this argument. How should one respond to this individual’s argument?
Greetings. Thank you for your question.
It is important to understand that neo-pagan individuals are not the same as born-again Christians. Therefore, it is normal to expect unorthodox (even heretical) positions from these people since they do not understand the things of God. After all, the things of God are foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Because the neo-pagan is the person claiming that the doctrines of “multitudes of gods”, “fleshly heavenly beings”, “deification of men”, and “separation of YHWH and El” supposedly have “clear biblical backing”, the burden of proof lies with the neo-pagan. As a result, you should ask the neo-pagan to back those claims with biblical texts in context. If these doctrines supposedly have “clear biblical backing” (and they do not), then he should clearly have some biblical texts in context to support his big claim (and he will not have that).
I want to share a few Scriptures that show that the whole “multitude of gods” doctrine simply contradicts Scripture.
Isaiah 43:10 (NASB):
“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
In Isaiah 43:10, the LORD clearly states there was no god before Him. Furthermore, there will be no god after Him.
Isaiah 44:6-8 (NASB):
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.
8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”
In Isaiah 44:6-8, God once again declares there is no God besides Him. Furthermore, He knows of no other gods. It is important to understand that He knows of no other gods not because He has not heard of them. Rather, God is omniscient. Specifically, He knows all things (1 John 3:20). Therefore, when He says he knows of no other gods, He means that He knows for a fact no other gods exist but Him.
Revelation 22:12-13 (NASB; this is Jesus Christ specifically speaking; He is not a separate God. Rather, He is the 2nd person of the Trinity):
12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Once again, God (this time in the person of Jesus Christ) states He is the only God of this world, calling Himself “the first and the last.”
Clearly, the “multitudes of gods” doctrine contradicts Scripture. Scripture clearly shows that there is only one God. No other gods exist.
I hope this response helps you a bit. I will pray for your dialogue with the neo-pagan individual.