Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether the Bible teaches that there is one God, or many gods. The argument is that several passages say that there is more than one God, and several passages say that there is only one God. However, there are very reasonable explanations for the passages brought up in relation to this alleged contradiction in the Bible.
Scriptures – Is the Bible Contradictory About How Many Gods There Are?
There Is More Than One God
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”Genesis 1:26
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”Genesis 3:22
Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”Genesis 11:7
For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—1 Corinthians 8:5
There Is Only One God
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Deuteronomy 6:4
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.Isaiah 43:10
6 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”’… 8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! ”’Is there a God besides me?”’ There is no Rock; I know not any.”Isaiah 44:6, 8
The Answer – Is the Bible Contradictory About How Many Gods There Are?
The Doctrine of the Trinity Teaches That There Is One God Who Exists In Three Persons
The Bible is clear that there is only one God, and that this one God exists in three distinct persons. The three persons are distinct in that particular actions of God are especially attributed to each person.
Plural Pronouns in Genesis
Regarding the plural pronouns used in Genesis 1:26, 3:22, and 11:7, there are two reasonable possibilities that reconcile the alleged contradiction.
- The plural pronouns could be a “royal we,” which is sometimes used to describe a king or monarch. Notice that in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22, the verses do not say, “Then the gods said…” or “Then the Lord gods said…” The subject, God, in these verses is singular, yet the pronouns are plural. This suggests that the plural pronouns are referring to a singular subject. In our opinion, this is the more likely explanation.
- The plural pronouns could be pointing forward towards the eventual revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity.
“gods” in 1 Corinthians 8:5
When the Bible refers to other “gods” besides the one true God, it is referring to “gods” that do not exist. For example, consider these passages:
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.Galatians 4:8
and have cast their gods into the fire. ”’For they were no gods”’, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.Isaiah 37:19
Has a nation changed its gods, ”’even though they are no gods”’? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.Jeremiah 2:11
Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties
There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.
Related to “Is the Bible Contradictory About How Many Gods There Are?”
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: