How many gods are there?

Different religions claim that there are different numbers of gods, so depending on a person's religion, they will believe there are different numbers of gods. According to the Bible, there is one God only for all of time: "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god'" (Isaiah 44:6; see also Isaiah 43:10).

Atheism is a worldview that rejects the existence of any god. This is not to be confused with agnosticism, whose adherents believe that there is or could be a god or multiple gods, but that we cannot know with certainty.

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all examples of monotheism, the belief in one god. All three religions believe that there is only one god, but there is variance between those religions as to the belief in who that one God is.

Polytheism asserts the presence of multiple gods in the world, some of which are finite. These gods may or may not be subjected to a ranking system where some of them are more important than the others. Hinduism is an example of a polytheistic religion because it teaches that there are millions of different gods. On a broader scale there is pantheism, to which many Hindus, Buddhists, and New Age religions adhere. Pantheism goes beyond claiming the existence of multiple gods to the belief that god "is all and in all," god is everywhere and in everything and everyone; in pantheism, god is infinite and uniquely personal to each individual but not uniquely personal as God. A pantheistic god does not stand alone and have his own character.

As Christians, we have the unique distinction of believing there is one triune God. This is also known as the Trinity doctrine, or three persons in one God—God the Father (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2), God the Son (Jesus) (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3–4; Mark 1:10–11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each person of the Trinity is distinct—the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. These are not modes of being. Yet each of the three persons of the Trinity is fully God. God is one in essence and He exists in tri-unity (John 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

We learn about the attributes and nature of God through reading the Bible. When Moses asked God to provide a name, God's response was "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). God has always been and always will be (Psalm 90:2). He the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the perfect God, all knowing, all powerful, omnipresent, the One who is worthy of all glory and praise (Psalm 33:4; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 4:11).

It should be noted that the Bible does talk about other spiritual entities, but these are created beings and not gods. The Bible tells us about false gods, particularly the pagan gods of ancient cultures; but, again, these are not true gods with the power of God. Rather, they are imaginary or even demonic. Humans might treat something else as a god (known as idolatry), but whether that thing is an actual spiritual being, an ideal, a material possession, or some other person, it is not a legitimate god.

The Bible is quite clear that there is only one true God. He brought the world into existence and He created humans in His image (Genesis 1—2). Humans were intended to have relationship with God, but rebellion against God's ways (known as sin) separated us from Him (Romans 5:17–21). There is nothing we can do to get ourselves back in right relationship with God; we were destined to spend eternity apart from Him, suffering the eternal death our sins deserved (John 3:16–18, 36; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1–10). Graciously, He provided a means for us to be reconciled with Him, and not only that, but to become His child and have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ, God the Son, took on human flesh, lived a sinless life, suffered death on our behalf, and raised back to life victorious over sin and death (Romans 5:6–11; 1 Corinthians 15:3–7; Acts 4:12). His payment for sin on the cross can be applied to our account when we put our faith in Him (Romans 10:9–13; Acts 16:30–31). We can be saved for all eternity and enjoy a life-giving relationship with the one true God even now. What an amazing God!


Related Truth:

Does God exist?

Why should we care if God exists?

Can man live without God?

What are some of the key things to know about the nature of God?

The attributes of God, what are they?


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