Have you ever wondered why there are so many wars in Christian countries when the teachings of Jesus Christ are about love?
If it were a defensive war, or what political science classifies as a just war, it would be justifiable. However, Christian nations have a history of aggressively waging “holy wars,” such as the Crusades.
Since the Age of Discovery, Christian nations have pursued imperialistic colonial policies toward countries in Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.
Christian countries are also destroying entire local civilizations.
I believe that there must be some basis in the “Bible,” which is the foundation of spirituality.
In general, the Old Testament Yahweh will be grasped as the one and only God, the “God the Father” that Jesus refers to.
However, according to the doctrine of the Trinity, Jesus is essentially the same as Yahweh.
However, is a god who commands the “sanctification” (i.e., killing everyone) of other peoples really a universal god or a supreme god?
It seems that the history of Western imperialism since the modern era has been justified by the fact that it equates a god (Yahweh) who would command holy abstinence with the universal God.
In fact, both the Inca and Aztec empires have been “sacrificed”. The Hawaiian dynasties have also been exiled in a disgusting manner.
Recent biblical studies (higher criticism) have revealed that Elohim was originally the “supreme deity” who had been worshipped in the Canaan region (northern Israel) since before Yahweh, while Yahweh was the “national deity” who was worshipped later in southern Israel.
The historical background is that these two deities became confused during the formation of Judaism, and came to be regarded as the same God.
In this issue, while delving into this “What is the difference between Yahweh and Elohim, the ethnic god and the supreme god?” and “How can we eradicate the idea of holy despair from monotheism and international politics?” I would like to think about this.
Documentary Hypothesis Finds “Yahweh is a Different God from Elohim”
In the Jewish and Christian faiths, the Pentateuch of Moses (the Torah in Judaism) was “written by Moses.
However, it has long been pointed out that there are many inconsistencies if Moses himself authored the text, such as the scene depicting Moses’ burial.
J and E materials in the document hypothesis
In recent biblical studies (higher criticism), it has been hypothesized that the Old Testament was formed from a mixture of four sources.
This is called the “Documentary Hypothesis,” and its contents are as follows.
- J (Yahwist material)
- E (Elohist material)
- D (Deuteronomistic Historians)
- P (Priestly Materials)
So the J material is Yahweh-based and the E material is Elohim-based.
As you can see in the diagram above, the J and E materials were originally separate, but gradually became mixed.
This implies, in other words, that Yahweh (Yahveh) and Elohim were originally two different divine beings.
Origin of the Divine Names of Elohim and Yahweh
Elohim, by the way, is the plural form of “El.
El is the common noun for “God,” capitalized “GOD,” the supreme deity of the Canaanites who have long been worshipped in the land of Canaan.
The plural does not mean that there is a plurality of El (God) gathered together, but rather that they are referred to as such as a dignitary.
It is generally referred to as the “plurality of dignities.
In contrast, the divine name Yahweh has historically been written in Hebrew letters corresponding to YHWH (YHVH).
In ancient times, the name of God was pronounced correctly in rituals, but since the Ten Commandments of Moses include the rule that “the name of God shall not be spoken without knowledge,” the recitation of God’s name has gradually become a matter of respect.
Instead, there is a history of the substitution of readings with words such as “Adonai,” which means “My Lord.
And as time went on, even the Jewish people forgot how to pronounce YHWH.
However, as a result of modern research, it appears that YHWH was pronounced “Yahweh”.
Incidentally, “Jehovah” is derived from the sound of the vowels (a, o , a ) of “Adonai” applied to YHVH.
Since this is in short just a “guess,” it is not used today, with the exception of some cults.
Biblical Basis for Elohim as Supreme God and Yahweh as National God
The following are verses from Deuteronomy that are considered to belong to an older tradition.
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
when he divided all mankind,
he set up boundaries for the peoples
according to the number of the sons of Israel.[a]
For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance. (“Deuteronomy” 32:8-9)
Here, “the Most High” is precisely Elohim, and “the Lord” corresponds to Yahweh.
Then Elohim sat as the supreme deity, and assigned peoples to the gods below him. Elohim assigned to Yahweh the nation of Jacob (the nation of Israel).
What this means in short is that Elohim is the supreme deity, and Yahweh is the national deity who was commanded by Elohim to take charge of the nation of Israel (the Jewish people).
Where did Yahweh come from?
Yahweh is the “storm god” and “god of war” at Sinai
So where does Yahweh come from?
That is exactly what is told in the Exodus when he gives the Ten Commandments to Moses.
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. (“Exodus” 20:2)
Thus, Yahweh is not the original Canaanite god, but more likely the god since the “Exodus”.
After the “Exodus,” as the Hebrews migrated to Canaan and intermingled with the local people, Elohim, who was regarded as the supreme deity in Canaan, and Yahweh, who had been the deity since the Exodus, became confused.
This is how the story is speculated.
In fact, there are statements in the Bible that suggest that Yahweh came all the way from the south (Sinai).
The Lord came from Mount Sinai; he rose like the sun over Edomand shone on his people from Mount Paran.10,000 angels were with him,a flaming fire at his right-hand. (“Deuteronomy” 33:2)
*The Bible translates Yahweh as “Lord.”
“When you, LORD, went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel. (“Judges” 5:4-5)
In fact, it does not seem to be possible to identify specifically which mountain “Sinai” refers to in the Old Testament, but there seems to be no doubt that it is the southern wilderness from the perspective of Palestine.
Yahweh’s origin is the “god of war” and “god of storms” at Sinai.
What is the mechanism of prophecy?
By the way, you may reply that there are numerous prophets in the Old Testament who conveyed the “voice of Yahweh.
This is actually a matter of “prophetic mechanism” involved.
A prophet is a custodian of God’s word.
They are, metaphorically speaking, like “receivers. However, it is quite difficult to identify what kind of being the “sender” is.
That is why many prophets of the Old Testament also failed to properly distinguish between “Elohim-type transmissions” and “Yahweh-type transmissions,” and uniformly understood them as the “Word of God.
And especially after the united Kingdom of Israel, the equation of Elohim = Yahweh was established, and it was understood that the sender of the message was Yahweh.
We should make a sharp distinction between “Yahweh is the national god and Elohim is the supreme god.”
In the first place, how can a “jealous god” be a universal god…?
To be envious is to assume other gods as objects of envy, which in short is to admit “many gods”.
Hence, it is impossible for an envious God to be a universal God at the same time.
In Christianity, it is sometimes explained that “God is ambivalent, a God of mercy and a God of judgment.”
No matter how much you try to explain it, it is impossible for a God who orders the sanctification of other peoples and the “killing of all” including women and children to be a God of mercy at the same time.
It is inconceivable.
Therefore, I believe that Yahweh should be properly recognized as the national god of the Jews, and that the father god of Christianity as a world religion should be reorganized as Elohim.
This is not just a hobbyist issue of “it is better to separate God” or an academic issue of “the results of biblical studies show that it is so,” but a very important issue for world peace.
By considering Elohim and Yahweh as separate entities, I believe that this will help to eradicate the “holy extermination idea” from international politics, diplomacy, and warfare in the future.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which were born out of Judaism, are called “Semitic monotheistic religions,” and since more than half of the world’s population is a follower of these monotheistic religions, their influence is enormous.
Elohim is at the same time “Allah” as in Islam. Both are capitalized GOD. Because they are universal deities, they are common nouns, not proper nouns.
*Most likely, the “Qur’an” also contains some Yahweh-related communications.
Furthermore, Neo Buddhism believes that Elohim and Allah are the same being as the Buddha personified by the supreme cosmic principle in Buddhism, Vairocana Buddha.
Here, the world’s three major religions are not in conflict with each other and can have the same foundation: the God (Buddha) of Wisdom and Compassion.
Yahweh is the national God of the Jews, and Elohim is God the Father.” I would like to suggest to Christianity to acknowledge this fact.