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“Assyrian Prophecies”

Dr. Simo Parpola

Dr. Simo Parpola’s monumental achievement in 1997 “Assyrian Prophecies”.

THE ASSYRIAN CONCEPT OF GOD

The solution to the problem lies in the Assyrian concept of God, which defined Ashur “the only, universal God” as “the totality of gods.” Ashur himself was beyond human comprehension. Man could know him only through his powers pervading and ruling the universe, which, though emanating from a single source, appeared to man as separate and were accordingly hypostatized as different gods. On the surface, then, Assyrian religion, with its multitude of gods worshiped under different names, appears to us as polytheistic; on a deeper level, however, it was monotheistic, all the diverse deities being conceived of as powers, aspects, qualities, or attributes of Ashur, who is often simply referred to as “(the) God.” On the human level, the underlying doctrine of God’s “unity in multiplicity” mirrored the structure of the Assyrian empire a heterogeneous multi-national power directed by a superhuman, autocratic king, who was conceived of as the representative of God on earth.

Just as the exercise of the king’s rule was effected through a state council presided over by the king personally, so was God’s rule over the universe visualized in terms of a divine council presided over by Anu, the first emanation and “mirror image” of Ashur. This council is referred to in oracle 9 and other contemporary texts as “the assembly of all the gods” or “the assembly of the great gods,” and it is described as functioning like its human counterpart, with issues raised by individual council members and decisions made after sometimes long debate. The human analogy must not, however, obscure the fact that the image of the council essentially was a metaphor meant to underline the unity of the divine powers and their organic interaction. Ashur himself never appears as a “council member” for the simple reason that the council in fact was Ashur “the totality of gods.”

The idea of God as “the sum total of gods” is attested in various parts of the ancient Near East already in the sixth century BC, and later in several Hellenistic and Oriental philosophies and religions (e.g., Platonism, Orphism, Neoplatonism, Hinduism, Tantrism). It certainly also was part and parcel of first-millennium BC Jewish monotheism, as shown by the biblical designation of “God,” elluhim, which literally means “gods. What is more, the idea of a divine council is well attested in the Bible and unquestionably formed an essential component of the imagery of Jewish prophets from the earliest times through the end of biblical prophecy.

NOTE:  This confession by Simo Parpola shows us that the trinitarian doctrine of multiple personalities of god-beings and yet there is but one God, comes from Babylonian paganism just as Oneness Apostolics have claimed for a hundred years.  This trinitarian doctrine was taken from Platoism and grafted on to the Christian faith at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD.  Prior to this time, all trinitarian concepts were fashioned by Platoist philosophers who claimed Christianity as their religion.

Pastor Reckart