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To demonstrate the proper usage of the general term meaning “god”, all you have to do is look to the majority of Bible translations of the past in a number of languages around the world. Here is a partial list of translations where a general word for “god” was used, capitalized as “God” when talking about YHWH.
English - “God” means God, generic
God - Most English translations
French - “Dieu” means God, generic
Dieu - Louis Segond
Dieu - La Bible du Semeur
German - “Gott” means God, generic
Gott - Deutsch (German) Elberfelder
Gott - Deutsch (German) Luther
Greek - “Theos” means God, generic
Theos - Greek Nestle-Aland
Theos - Greek NT (Scrivener-1894) UTF8
Theos - Greek Septuagint
Theos - Greek Stephanos
Theos - Greek (Transliterated)
Theos - Greek Wescott Hort
Hungarian - “Isten” means God, generic
Isten - Hungarian KÃ¡roli
Italian - “DIO” means God, generic
DIO - La Nuova Diodati
Netherlands - “God” means God, generic
God - Het Boek
Norsk - “Gud” means God, generic
Gud - Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930
Portuguese - “Deus” means God, generic
Deus - O Livro
Deus - João Ferreira de Almeida Atualizada
Romanian - “Dumnezeu” means God, generic
Dumnezeu – Romanian
Dumnezeu - Romanian Cornilescu Version
Spanish - “Dios” means God, generic
Dios – Reina-Valera 1960
Dios - Nueva Versión Internacional
Dios - Reina-Valera 1995
Dios - Reina-Valera Antigua
Dios - La Biblia de las Américas 7
I think it would be educational to look at the generic word “god” or “gott” and derivatives that have been used in English and other translations. The word “god” has been a generic word used for either false gods or the One True God for centuries. By “generic” we mean a word that is referring to a genre, a type, a category of something. Using “God” as a name for God, rather than a statement of what He is, can perhaps be compared to calling your best friend “Human” instead of by their actual name. This definition does break down when it comes to YHWH because He alone is the True God, all other “gods” being false gods. Therefore, technically, there is only One Being that belongs to the true category or genre “God”. But since there are millions of other beings referred to as “gods”, by human definition, there is a genre called “god”. In the English and other Bibles the capitalized word “God” is used wherever the Hebrew word “Elohiym” was used in the Old Testament to refer to YHWH. The word “Theos” was used in the New Testament to refer to YHWH. The word “elohiym” in Hebrew and the word “theos” in Greek are generic terms for “god” which can be used for false gods or the One True God, YHWH. In the English and other Bibles, when speaking of the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the “I AM”, it capitalizes the word “god” into “God”. Some people try to argue that the word “gott” was used for false gods in the distant past, thus attempting to argue that any name for a supreme being can be used to refer to YHWH. But they miss the point that it was always used as a generic term for “gods”. It was a generic term that can also be applied to the One True God if given that designation. Most of the authoritative sources state that “gott”, from which we get “god” in English, has always been a generic term meaning “a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship”.
Historically, when there was a choice whether to use a word meaning “god” or “lord” or something equivalent - or - the name of a local “supreme being” deity in Bible translations, the nearly universal choice was to use the generic word, which follows the biblical pattern of using “Elohiym” and “Theos”.
On a small island group now called the Republic of Palau, the word “Rubak” was used for “Lord” in their Bible translations. It means an elder respected leader. This choice, then, follows the biblical pattern because “rubak” is a generic term, which when capitalized refers to the “LORD” YHWH (Jehovah) or “Lord” in the New Testament which is “Kurios”. There was a “supreme being” in Palau called “Uchelianged” meaning “beginning of the heavens” or “creator of the heavens” but since that was a local false “supreme being” and there was no generic term for “god” the word Dios (a derivative of “Theos”) was grafted in from Spanish for “God”. This has worked well and was a wise choice to distinguish YHWH from a false local demonic deity that was clearly not YHWH and had been the object of pagan worship for centuries.
But let’s look at how a number of Bible societies have changed the rules of how we use the name of God in the Bible and the Church today. The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) state that it:
“supports the critical investigation of the Bible. Founded in 1880, SBL is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies. The Society provides conversation partners and resources for those interested in the religions, history, literature, and culture of the ancient Near Eastern world. Over 6,000 members from every continent provide a forum to test ideas and advance the understanding of the Bible's role in the public arena.
SBL has partnerships with the following organizations:
American Academy of Religion
American Bible Society
American Council of Learned Societies
American Schools of Oriental Research
International Organization for Masoretic Studies
International Organization for Septuagint & Cognate Studies
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
National Humanities Alliance
Pontifical Biblical Institute
Oriental Institute University of Chicago
It is no wonder, then, that SBL and member American Bible Society are saying much the same thing as Wycliffe.
The Old Testament names for God are not unambiguous and there are many different names of God (Mettinger). ... In view of multi-religious and multi-textual traditions where there are long literary histories of God and orally transmitted articulations of the divine, naming the biblical God in indigenous languages is far more profound than just a linguistic-translational issue. It entails the notion of translatability and is understood as “the transposition of a concept from one language and cultural context into another. This involves the question whether the concept should remain the same in the receptor language or whether it changes and if so, how” (Eber, 199)? Existing terms for God involve the cultural milieu and thus the complicated, tangled web of local religious belief systems. ... There is an unwarranted skepticism towards the heathens' possession, if at all, of a very limited and low knowledge of the divine from the so-called “natural/native religion.” The adoption of a local name for the universal God will facilitate mutual transformation of both Christianity and the native religion and culture. 10
When has this method of “facilitated mutual transformation” spread the Gospel? If not, why would Christians want that? Another word for “mutual transformation” is simply—syncretism.
Following are some examples, among many, from various Bible societies of where the name of YHWH is being substituted by the names of false gods.
(Surawak, Malaysia Bible and many Arabic Bibles - various Bible translators)
A religious controversy came and went here in Sarawak before I even heard about it. The Bup Kudus, the translation of the Holy Bible into the Iban language, was banned two weeks ago, and dis-banned today. The Sarawak Tribune I picked up was so information-poor, I could not discern from it why they banned it, when they banned it, or why they had lifted the ban. I found a partial explanation here: The secretary-general of the Malaysia National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, the Rev. Wong Kim Kong, said from Kuala Lumpur there had for some time been difficulties over the fact that some words used in Islam were also used in Christian publications. Some Muslim leaders thought this could perplex Muslims who picked up such books. Among the words that cause concern is “Allah.” It's the word Muslims use for the deity they worship, but the Arabic word pre-dated Islam and is also used by Christian Arabs when referring to God - despite the considerable differences in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic conceptions of God. The Iban translation of the Bible uses the term “Allah Taala” for God, while the other banned Christian books, in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, also use “Allah” for God. This is thought likely to be one of the problem areas for the Home Ministry. I think the Home Ministry made the right move by lifting the ban. But the language issue is an interesting one. Allah is used interchangeably with Tuhan to mean God in Bahasa Malaysia, but Tuhan is the original Malay word. The meaning of an Arabic dua in school, Allahumma (Oh God) is still translated as Ya Tuhan. I don't speak any Iban at all, but I would be very surprised if Allah is the original or preferred word for God, what to speak of Allah Taala (Almighty God), which is rarely heard even among Malays outside of Islamic religious sermons. So why would the Bup Kudus translators go with that translation? It is reminiscent, as Anak_Alam pointed out, of the uproar over Arabic Bibles that began with the Bismillah, a distinctly Islamic invocation whether it has an intelligible meaning to non-muslim Arabs or not.
Yet the deity known as “Allah” to Muslims is not YHWH. Read the article called Is Allah The Same As YHWH? by Sandy Simpson, 9/16/01.
The false god “Allah” is not the same as the One True God eternally existing in Three Persons Who is YHWH, “I AM”. Allah has no son.
“Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity). It was formerly the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca before Mohammed made them into monotheists. Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.”
Read the entire article mentioned above to understand that Allah is not YHWH. Therefore the substitution of Allah for the name of God in the Bible is a sacrilege, a blasphemy. As seen above, Allah has been substituted for the name of God in many Arabic Bibles by many Bible societies.
Allah ... is traditionally used by Muslims as the Arabic word for “God” (not “God's personal name”, but the equivalent of the Hebrew word El as opposed to YHWH). The word Allah is not specific to Islam; Arab Christians and Arab Jews also use it to refer to the monotheist deity. Arabic translations of the Bible also employ it, as do the Catholics of Malta who pronounce it as “Alla” in Maltese, a language derived from and most closely related to Arabic, as well as Christians in Indonesia, who pronounce it “Allah Bapa” (Allah the Father).
(Korean Bible, International Bible Society)
Hananim in Korean allegedly means “The God”. But it was actually an ancient god of Korea.
Hananim = The supreme god of ancient Korea. As the master of the universe he moves the stars. Hananim punishes the wicked, and rewards the good.
Even the name of Hananim is debatable as to its origin in Korean religion.
To a large extent, problems involved in the relationship of the term Hananim and related forms to ancient Korean religious concepts are not resolvable. Against the widespread view that there was such a concept and a word for it going back to the very beginnings of Korean religious thought, the fact is that we have no textual attestation of such a word until the 1880s or at most a few years earlier. 16
Regardless, the use of the name Hananim in the Bible and Korean Christianity was clearly a way to syncretize and thereby make Christianity more inviting and palatable to the Koreans who were and still are deeply rooted in shamanism.
In an attempt to redress this imbalance, this study offers an analysis of the affinity between Korean religious culture and Protestantism in order to bring into relief various points of contact that strengthened the appeal of the imported faith in the host society. It is argued here that the dramatic progress of Protestantism in South Korea during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s  was due in part to the way the imported faith converged with certain concepts and practices of Korean religious tradition.  It is also argued that Korean clergy, in an effort to make Protestantism more acceptable to potential converts, accentuated certain messages and doctrines, particularly those pertaining to shamanistic worldview. Examples of convergence between Korean religious tradition and Protestantism abound, but the following themes stand out as the most important: an emphasis on this-worldly life; the concept of Hananim; the image of God as the savior; the primacy of faith-heating; and the centrality of ethics and family values.17
That Hananim is part of a pantheon of Korean gods is beyond question.
As a polytheistic religion, Korean Shamanism does worship large numbers of spirits, but the supreme God in its pantheon is Hananim. In Korean Shamanism, Hananim is believed to govern the universe and control the lives of the people through the powers entrusted to lesser gods, ranked according to their functions (Jo 1983: 94-103). Following Hananim in the ranking and power are other heavenly gods, including the sun, the moon, and the stars. Next in the ranking are gods of the earth, the river, and the mountain, while the spirits of the underground world are at the lowest rank.18
This brings into question whether or not most Korean Christians even know Who God is today. They may have the biggest churches in the world, but what “god” are they worshipping? Hananim may have been a supreme being of Korea, but that does not make Hananim YHWH. The “I AM” revealed Himself exclusively to Moses and Israel, not to the Gentile nations.
To see the corruption of the Korean Bible, we need look no further than Genesis 1:1. Translated from Korean it is stated this way: “The God (Hananim) creates heaven and earth in Tae candle.”19
This is quite obviously a syncretization of original Korean shamanistic teachings and Christianity. The International Bible Society translated the Korean New Testament. There is a PDF at IBS that explains their translation ethic.20 If you read through this document you will begin to understand the departure from literal translation procedures of the past into “meaning-based” translation of the present, opening the door wide to misinterpretation of the Bible. A good case in point is the current “Message Bible” in English. It is not really a Bible at all but a bad commentary on the Bible from a man who has an agenda.
The IBS is also the distributor of the TNIV. IBS is partnered with Wycliffe. To date, IBS has translated and published Scripture—directly and in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators—into more than 600 languages. IBS is currently translating God's Word in 48 languages that need understandable Scriptures.21 IBS Africa is partnered with the following organizations:
Seventh Day Adventist Church
United Bible Societies
Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA)
Christian Learning Materials CENTRE (CLMC)
World Vision is working as a front-line communicator, along with YWAM, of the doctrines and practices of the New Apostolic Reformation and their false apostles and false prophets. Notice that IBS partners with a cult, namely the Seventh Day Adventists. The AEA is working hand in hand with AD2000 (a C. Peter Wagner/Ralph Winter’s brainchild) and World Vision.
Please see the attached report from Wayne McGee on the recent Bassam 2000 Consultation attended by 350 key leaders from 30 nations, a joint effort of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), Interdev, AD2000 & Beyond Movement and World Vision International. I was there and what a privilege it was, in so many ways! Praise God!
AFRICAN SUPREME BEINGS
It is clear that many translations of the Bible into African languages have been corrupted with the names of “supreme being” false gods of various African tribes.
African supreme beings are spiritual beings or divinities who are as varied as the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the world's second largest continent after Asia. Belief in a supreme being is universal among most of the over sixty peoples of Africa. Supreme beings carry a distinct and unique quality in African cosmology as creators with all other supreme attributes in the theocentric universe. The nature, characters, and attributes of the African supreme being reflect indigenous religious orthodoxy prior to the introduction of, and in spite of, the influence of Christianity and Islam, and these qualities reflect the continuing diversity of the African peoples' traditional sociopolitical structures and languages within the current modern nation-states. The African supreme being is usually associated symbolically with the varieties of indigenous cultures of the peoples. The indigenous concepts and conceptions of most African supreme beings have been retained by the adherents of the religions that were introduced into Africa in the ritual practices and the translations of the sacred texts (Bible and Quran) of those religious traditions.epresent “indigenous religious orthodoxy” they were nonetheless used in translations of the Bible as a substitute for the name of God, YHWH.
OTHER WORDS FOR GOD USED IN BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
Other names of the Christian God that have a history of pagan meanings include Slavic Bog, Finnish Jumala, Japanese Kami and in Arabic Allah which is generally thought to be solely a word which describes the Islamic God.25
Translation of Slavic Bibles was done by many organizations including Russian Bible Society and The British and Foreign Bible Society. Yet the word “Bog” is not the true God at all, but an ancient god of Slavic nations.
Slavic words describing success, destiny, or fortune are all connected with the ancient Slavic word for God - “bog”. Although used to denote the God of Christianity, the word is of pagan origin and quite ancient. It originates from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhag (meaning fortune), being cognate to Avestic baga and Sanskrit bhagah (epithets of deities).
Our Puck is the Welsh Boucca, which derives either directly from the Slavic Bog “God” or from the same root. The word Bog is a good example of the fall of the High God to a lower estate, for it becomes our own Bogey and the Scotch Bogle, both being diminutives of the original word connoting a small and therefore evil god.
Some of the translations of Finnish Bibles are The New Testament in Finnish, Old Church Bible, Year 1776 Bible, Year 1938 Church Bible, New Church Bible.27b These use the name Jumala in place of God. Yet Jumala is an ancient deity of Finland who was the subject of idol worship.
According to John Martin Crawford, (see the Preface to his translation of the Kalevala): “The Finnish deities, like the ancient gods of Italy, Greece, Egypt, Vedic India or any ancient cosmogony, are generally represented in pairs, and all the gods are probably wedded. They have their individual abodes and are surrounded by their respective families. ... The heavens themselves were thought divine. Then a personal deity of the heavens, coupled with the name of his abode, was the next conception; finally this sky-god was chosen to represent the supreme Ruler. To the sky, the sky-god, and the supreme God, the term Jumala (thunder-home) was given.” ... However, when Christianity came to dominate Finnish religious life in the Middle Ages and the old gods were ousted or consolidated away from the pantheon, Jumala became the Finnish name for the Christian God.28
JUMALA: Supremo Sky God who is as shapeless and abstract as the sky itself. JUMALA is so abstract that he barely exists at all. The name is the old Finnish word for 'God' - and this could be applied to any deity who fancied a boost. Particularly UKKO.29
Jumala, Jumal, Jumali or Ibmel is thought to have been a sky god of the ancient Finnic-speaking peoples. The name means “god”. Jumal- In Estonia, Jumal was the name of the god of the sky. He was believed to make the earth fertile through the rains of the summer's thunderstorms. Among the south Estonians, he was represented by a wooden statue in the homes. Jumala - In Finland, Jumala was the name of two of the Finns' sky gods, or one of two names for the sky god (cf. Ilmarinen).30
The Japanese have a whole system or pantheon of gods collectively and individually called “kami”. This presents a bit of a problem for Bible translation. Shinto and other religions in Japan use the word “kami” for their pantheon of gods. Yet Bible translators chose to use “kami” as their word for God.
The idea that kami are the same as God stems in part from the use of the word kami to translate the word ‘God’ in some 19th century translations of the Bible into Japanese.
Here is what the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) has to say about the use of “kami” in the Japanese Bible.
In some cases, the impact of naming the biblical God in an Asian language results in the gradual Christianizing of the name, causing it to lose its original religious content. The proper name Shangdi in Chinese Classics and popular religions and the genetic name Shen, referring to deity in general, are now mostly monopolized by Christians to refer to the biblical God. The same applies to the use of Kami in the Japanese Christian community.
Yet today we see no “Christianitzation” of the word “kami” in the false religious system of Japan.
All Japanese Deities are called “Kami”. Another name for Shinto: “Kami-no-Michi, Way of the Gods”. Izanagi, sky-father creator deity. Izanami, earth-mother creator deity. Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun (VERY important). Hachiman, God of War.
Notice that the actual “supreme beings” of Japan are a couple, Izanumi and Izanagi. Daniel Kikawa proposed that Amenomenakanushi is the “supreme being” of Japan and in fact is YHWH, a Trinity. Yet when we study Japanese pagan worship carefully we find that Amenomenakanushi is further down on the chain of gods. The word “kami” is still used to worship false gods and is a complete part of Japanese culture.
Shintoism is the native religion of Japan. It is rooted in animism (belief that non-living objects have spirits). Its many gods or spirits are known as kami. Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century. Today, most Japanese claim to be both Shintoist and Buddhist. Traditions of Shintoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism have all contributed to Japanese religious principles: ancestor worship; a belief in religious continuity of the family; a close tie between the nation and religion; a free exchange of ideas among religious systems; and religious practices centered on the use of prayer meditation, amulets, and purification.
Here is one of many examples of pagan “kami” rituals that continue in Japan.
First, a person can attach a piece of board to the ceiling right above the altar. Thus the board under the real ceiling creates a new “ceiling” for the altar, separating it from the world above and protecting the kami from being stepped on. Second, a person can place on the altar a piece of white paper with the character for “cloud” drawn on it in India ink. This creates a “sky with clouds” under the ceiling - an alternative for the real sky.
Can YHWH be “stepped on”? If not, why are Christians substituting the name “kami” for YHWH in Japanese Bible translations? The story of Hadad, the “supreme being” of the Arameans, is an appropriate reminder at this point of the fact that YHWH is the only “supreme being”, not Kami, not Bog, not Jumala, not Allah.
1 Kings 20:28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the LORD says: ’Because the Arameans think the LORD (Hadad) is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.’
All the false “supreme beings” of the nations are like Hadad who was limited—just a “god of the valleys”
"Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut feeling that something was different. It occurred when looking at Earth and seeing this blue-and-white planet floating there, and knowing that it was orbiting the Sun, seeing that Sun, and seeing in in the background of the very deep and velvety cosmos, seeing - rather -, knowing for sure - that there was a purposefulness of the flow, of energy, of time, of space and the cosmos - that it was beyond man's rational ability to understand, that suddenly there was a non-rational way of understanding that had been beyond my previous experience.
There seems to be more to the universe than random, chaotic, purposeless movement of a collection of molecular particles.
On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space towards the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, and harmonious."
Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 14 Astronaut
"Before I flew I was already aware of how small and vulnerable our planet is, but only when I saw it from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that humankind's most urgent task is to cherish and preserve it for future generations"
Astronaut - German Democratic Republic
"For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience certainly changes your perspective. The things we share in our world are far more valuable than the things that separate us."
From space I saw Earth - indescribably beautiful with the scars of national boundaries gone.
Muhammad Ahmad Faris
It isn't important in which sea or lake you observe a slick of pollution, or in the forests of which country a fire breaks out, or in which continent a hurricane arises. You are standing guard over the whole of our Earth.
"That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you have ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Dr. Carl Sagan
The Pale Blue Dot