Q. 8: Are there more gods than one?
A. 8: There is but one only, the living and true God.
(Deuteronomy 6:4; Jeremiah 10:10)
How many gods are there? Well, that depends upon whom you ask. For example, if you ask a Hindu, their answer will exceed a million gods and goddesses. If you ask a Latter Day Saint, their answer would also be more than one. If you ask a Jewish person, they will say one, as would a Muslim. How would a Christian answer?
The Christian would answer, as the Catechism does, that there is one God. But what about the Trinity? We will get to that (in the next question, actually). However, remaining anchored to the Scriptures, Baptists will always acknowledge that there is but one only, the living and true God.
The passages cited help clarify our understanding of the oneness of God without neglecting the triunity of God. In Deuteronomy 6:4 we read these words, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (ESV). He is, as Moses declares to the people of Israel, one. He alone is God, and only God. There are no other gods or goddesses. The Scriptures teach the exclusiveness of God.
He is also the living God. Jeremiah tells us, “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jer. 10:10, ESV). If you read on further in that chapter, Jeremiah contrasts God with false gods and goddesses, demonstrating the power of God to bring about creation (see 10:12-13). Idols are dead, they cannot hear nor see nor deliver (cf. Psalm 115:5 and 135:16). Only God, the God of Israel, is the one true and living God.
There is one primary application that I would like to focus on today, though there are certainly many more. The application is: God is God and we are not. The first of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3, ESV). Yet, this is often the command we violate the most. Daily we attempt to live for ourselves, for our desires, our wills. This is nothing less than idolatry. God demands obedience, sole obedience. He does not share with anything or anyone.
Christians need to worship God and God alone. Let this Catechism remind us of this vital truth!