Right now atheists seem to be all abuzz about Yahweh, a.k.a The Volcano God, in some weird attempt to discredit The One we Christians, Jews and Muslims worship today. Ask any of us monotheists if we believe God is a god of volcanoes and the discussion will be cut short by weird looks and lots of laughter.
What’s even more amusing is that they are speaking as if this is new insight that we benighted believers have been ignorant to. Enter one of my favorite books on religion, The History of God, by Karen Armstrong.
To understand what we are losing—if, that is, [God] really is disappearing—we need to see what people were doing when they began to worship this God, what he meant and how he was conceived. To do that we need to go back to the ancient world of the Middle East, where the idea of our God gradually emerged about 14,000 years ago.
Armstrong, Karen (2011-08-10). History of God (Kindle Locations 236-238). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Yes, 14,000 years ago which predates the Exodus by better than 10,000 years. Yes, 10,000. Apparently God is a bit older than this Yahweh dude, but let us focus on this “Volcano God,” Yahweh. After all that’s who we call God, right?
The Israelites called Yahweh “the God of our fathers,” yet it seems that he may have been quite a different deity from El, the Canaanite High God worshipped by the patriarchs [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. He may have been the god of other people before he became the God of Israel. In all his early appearances to Moses, Yahweh insists repeatedly and at some length that he is indeed the God of Abraham, even though he had originally been called El Shaddai. This insistence may preserve the distant echoes of a very early debate about the identity of the God of Moses. It has been suggested that Yahweh was originally a warrior god, a god of volcanoes, a god worshipped in Midian, in what is now Jordan. We shall never know where the Israelites discovered Yahweh, if indeed he really was a completely new deity. Again, this would be a very important question for us today, but it was not so crucial for the biblical writers. In pagan antiquity, gods were often merged and amalgamated, or the gods of one locality accepted as identical with the god of another people. All we can be sure of is that, whatever his provenance, the events of the Exodus made Yahweh the definitive God of Israel and that Moses was able to convince the Israelites that he really was one and the same as El, the God beloved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The so-called “Midianite Theory”—that Yahweh was originally a god of the people of Midian—is usually discredited today, but it was in Midian that Moses had his first vision of Yahweh.
Armstrong, Karen (2011-08-10). History of God (Kindle Locations 582-594). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
But the Bible does contain volcanic imagery when we see Elijah experience Yahweh. The problem is that atheist critics are intentionally myopic. They are looking to discredit so they ignore obvious evidence.
There [the prophet Elijah] experienced a theophany which manifested the new Yahwist spirituality. He was told to stand in the crevice of a rock to shield himself from the divine impact: Then Yahweh himself went by.
Thence came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before Yahweh. But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with a cloak. [1 Kings 19:11-13]
Unlike the pagan deities, Yahweh was not in any of the forces of nature but in a realm apart. He is experienced in the scarcely perceptible timbre of a tiny breeze in the paradox of a voiced silence.
Armstrong, Karen (2011-08-10). History of God (Kindle Locations 709-717). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
In my New Revised Standard edition, it reads “the sound of sheer silence.” Not exactly what comes to mind when evisioning the image of a volcano although that’s the imagery announces Yahweh’s arrival. If God really was a volcano god would he not be in that which he is manifested: a volcano? The volcano becomes a sign of power and majesty but even here we have three specific denials that this describes Yahweh’s nature. The author of Kings even goes so far as to employ a paradox to remind us that God’s nature is indeed inscrutable.
For us believers, this is so par for the course it’s almost read on automatic. The Israelites on their Exodus saw God in the volcano of Mt. Horeb when Moses comes down with the Law. Elijah being a simple human could not stand in Yahweh’s awesome (quiet?) presence. Yawn. Nothing that hasn’t been taught in Sunday School since forever. Of course, all of this is entirely missed by atheist critics eager to make God small and easily dismissed.
I am not surprised…and neither should you. But it is amusing.
8 thoughts on “The Truth Erupts”
You should really fully read 1 Kings 19 before trying to use it as some sort of evidence against the concept of Yahweh being a Volcano god to which is btw also a Mountain GOD.. You should also Learn that El-Shaddai also means “God of the Mountain” where it’s roots also entail “Mountain Dweller”.. It also doesn’t make sense in Kings 19 for a GOD to speak in 3rd person. :
“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
This is clearly man written drivel, while still entailing a Mountain GOD common in that region of the world.. And your few lines of scripture do nothing to dispel Yahweh as being a Volcano/mountain GOD. Especially when the bible is written numerous authors who all had their own way of interpreting that specific deity.. So if you really want an education on the evidence concerning the concept of a Yahweh being a volcano GOD, you can go here:
Further information, scripture, and evidence not used in the main article:
Hence, your few lines of scripture are nothing compared to what is actually in the bible regarding this subject. What is amusing is that you believe the persona that these ancient people attached to their object of worship is real..
I am relying on the scholarship of theologians versed in anthropology, geography, history, textual analysis, and of course biblical scholarship. They have suggested Yahweh was a mountain god, a thunder god, a warrior god, etc. probably for all the reasons you mention. None has won any consensus because of disconfirming evidence or lack of conclusive evidence. For example, where is this volcano, theologians would love to know where Mt. Sinai is. It’s not like they’re not looking. Still no actual position. Candidates are not up to muster.
But it only takes one disconfirming fact to destroy a theory, and the words of Elijah, the second biggest Yeahweh zealot in the Bible, says in Scripture quite clearly that Yahweh is not a volcano or in it in any way. Signs of God are not God.
“I am relying on the scholarship of theologians versed in anthropology, geography, history, textual analysis, and of course biblical scholarship. They have suggested Yahweh was a mountain god, a thunder god, a warrior god, etc. probably for all the reasons you mention. None has won any consensus because of disconfirming evidence or lack of conclusive evidence. For example, where is this volcano, theologians would love to know where Mt. Sinai is. It’s not like they’re not looking. Still no actual position. Candidates are not up to muster.”
That’s great.. They are cited in the articles posted.. And you can find more information regarding a debate here on that very issue:
Tons of citations in the comments section, and the debate even goes into common mountain GOD worship traditions and beliefs that stem all the way back and before that time period.. And your argument seems to be running excuses to ignore the evidence provided.. You’re using an ad hominem.. When he tells you to fully read kings, I understand what he meant.. And you should actually read Psalms to which is more specific since Pslams is the songs of Yawheh, and it is pretty clear what is being referenced.
Another clue I found in the debate I read to which makes it even more telling is this fact about mountain GOD worship:
THE OUREA were the Protogenoi (primeval gods) or rustic Daimones (spirits) of the mountains. Each and every Mountain was said to have its own ancient bearded god. Mountains were occasionally depicted in classical art as bearded old men rising up from between their craggy peaks. /Quote
This tradition and belief stretches all the way back to the biblical era. This is a common belief of not only in current mountain and volcano GOD worship, but in ancient Volcano / mountain GOD worship.. So I will provide you the bible and a current example of this and the point addressed above:
* Daniel 7: 9-10:
9 “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
Current Modern day example:
In 1993, the carbonatite has extruded forming the white top of Oldoinyo Lengai and this white peak in the heart of the Maasailand is thought to represent the beard of the Maasai God, which is why the Maasai people call it the Mountain of God. David Maige, a senior warden at Tanzania Lake Manyara, told The Namibian this week that apart from contributing to the country’s tourism sector by drawing a lot of tourists, Oldoinyo Lengai is also a holy mountain for the Maasai people, just like Namibia’s Ovahimba people believe in their holy fire. He said the Maasai people use the mountain as a site to conduct rituals such as sacrifices and prayers. “There are many American and European scientists studying and monitoring the activity of the mountain,” said Maige. He said the mountain also offers wonderful view of Lake Natron. He said when the mountain erupts the Maasai people believe that their God is angry and they have to go to the mountain to placate him with prayers. Maige said the lower slopes of the mountain are used by the Maasai people for grazing cattle as the volcanic soil is very fertile for growing grass.
And it’s even repeated in the bible here in revelation 1 (14,15):
:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, :and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
And it’s even more obvious and interesting when you see this quoted in that debate:
“And now you know where the Jewish seven Candle sticks comes from and why they regard the flame divine and the spirit of GOD within the flame. Again Volcanic in origin, and gives you understanding of the SHIN to which is the abbreviation for this deity, and what El Shaddai actually means in terms of “GOD ALMIGHTY / GOD OF THE MOUNTAIN” and the roots words meaning to “destroy with fire”
This kid, appears to be very educated regarding the bible.. And I have to agree with him, and agree that most Christians are clueless when it comes to their own bible. The evidence provided is overwhelming… Especially if you read up on mountain god worshiping in that time period and region of the world. Even under the Encyclopedia Britannica it lists Christianity under Mountain GOD worship as noted by him in the debates comment section. Even a book from the Smithsonian was cited.. And most scholars today understand that Mt Sinai was more than likely a volcano, and that Exodus was written not more than 50 years after Mt Thera’s Super volcanic eruption that buried much of Egypt in volcanic ash and rock. Again that was also cited.
And yes theologians would love to know where Mt Sinai was or is.. However, the deity is considered associated to all volcanic activity in the region, so you could just pick and choose which one is yahweh. :/
All of which is great for a NOVA program, “Yahweh: God of the Mountain.” All of the clues are circumstantial, the question remains: Where exactly did Yahweh come from anthropologically speaking? With all the talk of volcanoes, there are no volcanoes in the specific region the Bible claims is the general locale of God’s Mountain. This I take delight in because while atheists are spreading propaganda that believers worship a volcano, the facts wrap God in mystery. The very volcano that is God’s Mountain doesn’t exist and suggests the Yahwists believed in a God they didn’t see. The volcano becomes a understandable and graspable symbol for a reality they could not. This is how myth works. I like that very much, very much indeed.
Most scholars suspect the Shasu of YHW, a midianite nomadic tribe.
From Egyptian topographical lists one area the Shasu lived in was Seir. One place is called “land of the Shasu Yhw” (Axelsson 1987, 60). Yhw is used as a toponym, a place-name, which is most likely named after a deity. Yhw corresponds to the Old Testament YHWH, which would make this the earliest known reference. Axelsson concludes, “Thus it is conceivable that the full name of the area in question was Yhw’s land, Yhw’s city, Yhw’s mountain, or the like” (Axelsson 1987, 60). After further study Astour places this city north of Israel in Lebanon (1979, 17-34; for more on the origins of YHWH see, De Moor, 1990, Huffmon, 1971, Murtonen, 1951).
You think the evidence is circumstantial but it’s not. Its what mountain GOD worship is.. And you can even reference the Smithsonian Institution:
Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents Volume 67
Everyone understands its a volcano.. And it’s definitely not circumstantial when Exodus is written not long after the Therah eruption to which has now been verified to have buried Egyptian cities in volcanic ash and rock. And most scholars right now understand that the Thera eruption had likely everything to do with the writing of Exodus. An eruption used to establish the GOD of Judah, and the monotheism of this deity by the Yahwist midianite cult.
And the point is, giving the evidence, this is the most reasonable conclusion. And when you read the bible understanding this, it finally actually makes coherent sense when you read it. You don’t have to be confused about fire coming out his mouth ect.. And Psalms again is specific and is the most important part of the bible as it is the songs of Yahweh. If that didn’t line up, then you would have had an argument. But the songs of Yahweh are indeed signing the tune of a volcano GOD.
And this GOD makes it’s own dwelling, …and volcanoes do that. So much evidence that It’s pretty darn obvious.
“But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with a cloak. [1 Kings 19:11-13]”
Btw, this is directly contradicted here:
* Kings (19.8): There on the mountain, Yahweh passed by in wind, earthquake, and fire
* Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
* Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
* Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
* 1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
* 2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And the Kings verse cited deals with the voice of god coming from within the mountain. It was representing its supposed sounds that come from it.. Read the articles posted as it deals with addressing the “Voice of GOD”. 🙂
And yet there is no volcano! Hmmm. 😉
“And yet there is no volcano! Hmmm.”
There is volcanoes all over the region.. When’s the last time you had bothered to look at the map? You can pick and choose anyone of them. In fact, this deity is related to more than one mountain. Its more than likely related to every volcano in the region, or wherever there is one. Saying there is no volcano is a pretty bad argument, especially when this religion comes from tribes in Midian.. Jethro was a midianite, and most likely a shasu priest of YHW. Also, just above the Sinai dessert there are several volcanoes that have been quite active in the past few thousand years.
Also, these beliefs likely stem all the way back from the time of our human ancestors migrated out of Africa. Pyramids are in the shape of volcanoes and mountains, and have to do with volcano and cosmic mountain god worship. In fact, most pyramids in the world are located near geological activity, mountains, and volcanoes.
So I fail to see the worth of your argument Robert. And it’s clearly stated in the Smithsonian link.. Mt Sinai isn’t required to be in the Sinai dessert..