Thursday, 31 March 2011

El is God!

In my road, there are several cars. Now due to my lack of imagination I refer to my car simply as a car. When I go out the door saying I’m getting in the car, I do not refer to a general car, I’m not going to get in to a random car, I’m not going to get in to the closest car but rather I will climb in to my specific car. Because I have labelled my car ‘car’, it does not mean that every reference to car refers to my car or that all cars are synonymous.

That seems obvious but what happens when we instead of thinking of cars we think of God? In Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou “Did God Have a Wife?” this seems to be the logic used. That if two things are referred to by the same classification then they must be the same thing. Specifically there was a Canaanite god called El and the word El is used in the Bible to refer to God.

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty (El-Shaddai), but by my name the LORD (Yĕhovah) I did not make myself fully known to them.” Exodus 6:3

The problem with this is that El means God, so the fact that there was a god called god is not entirely surprising and it doesn’t mean that every use of the word god refers to that specific god. Else in today’s language someone talking about David Beckham being a god should be interpreted as saying that David created the universe and everything in it as, after all, the word god is used to describe that as well.

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