Saturday, August 07, 2010

More Scholarly Information on Ancient Jewish Monotheism

In his work Old Testament Theology, theologian Ralph Smith writes:

"In line with the thought of Deuteronomy 32:8, God had given the welfare of
the other nations into the hands of these subordinate divine beings, but they
failed to establish justice and righteousness in the earth among the nations"
(page 231).

The "subordinate divine beings" Smith references are the angels as shown by his earlier comments on Israelite monotheism (see page 231). These angels (according to this OT theologian), surround the throne of YHWH and loyally
serve Him in the capacity of seraphs, cherubs, and messengers. While I do not agree with Smith's treatment in toto (especially some of his comments concerning Deut. 32:8)--one cannot help but note the propriety of calling the angels (as Smith does), "subordinate divine beings."

Smith concludes by quoting G.E. Wright, who contends that the term monotheism "has always been used to define Judaism and Christianity in which the angelic host has survived and has been elaborated." Furthermore, D.S. Russell notes:

"There is ample evidence to show that [the OT] conception of monotheism was held in conjunction with a belief in a spiritual world peopled with supernatural and superhuman beings who, in some ways, shared the nature, though not the being, of God" (The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, page 235).

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