Since Martin Luther we stopped to pray to heavenly saints and angels. Is it biblical?
Certainly Luther was right that Bible disallows to pray with icons:
(Exodus 20) “3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens above, the earth below, or the waters under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them…” (the Study Bible)
But properly translated verse 3 means rather: “You shall not have other gods above me.” It means not to put anyone above Yahweh. The verse 5 means properly “Don’t bow down to them and don’t work for them.”
Where does it say “Don’t pray to them?”
The word Yahweh is similar to the word “being” in Hebrew. It seems that this word means “the essence of being”. The word “Elochim” (God) is a plural word originally meaning “gods”. So “Yahweh Elochim” put simply means “the essence of gods”. This mean that Yahweh is a composite entity, the democracy of gods. Consider matrix (several numbers) in mathematics: It is several numbers but it is considered as a whole: It can be for example denoted by one letter, two matrices can be multiplied in the same way as if they were just two simple numbers, etc. Elochim is a composite entity, gods considered as one object. In Bible the word Elochim despite of being plural in word derivation is often used as singular (e.g with a singular verb) in a sentence. This means that all gods are considered as a whole, as one God.
Yes, (Deuteronomy 10:17) “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible…” and (Psalms 95:3) “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” God is exactly this, the authority (“king”) in the kingdom of gods.
So when we pray to God, our prayer is heard by gods and the answer to a prayer is their collective decision.
So “Elochim” (God) is the community of gods considered as a whole, “Yahweh Elochim” (God Yahweh) is the essence of this community, its central authority, like a democracy.
It does not make sense if God is whole or consists of parts: God takes many different isomorphic forms, some of which could be considered as a whole, some as a community.
Usually the word Elochim is interpreted as either an expression of greatness of God expressed by a plural number or as an indication to the Trinity. In my opinion, it is stupid human idea to think that plural number is used just to express greatness, it misses the grammar. This is an explanation arising from having no other known explanation. If Elochim is taken as the Trinity, it would also look quite silly: Does Bible repeatedly tell about a set of three elements? This would be like to “these tree do this and this…”, sounds silly for me. Also the word Elochim often does not have an article before it. If it word mean a set of three elements, it would necessarily have the article. Even in English “a three men” would be a nonsense, the same applies to ancient Hebrew. So my interpretation looks much more viable.
Here is the full list of the verses from KJV version of the Bible that translate the word Elochim as gods (that is in plural).
(Ex. 23:13) “… and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth” (should be “a name” rather than “the name”) seems to mean not to mention names of groups (because here “gods” is in plural) of other gods, like not to pray to “all saints” or to “spirits of the nature”.
Also note: (Exodus 18:11) “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.” This means that Yahweh Elochim is greater than a sum of its parts.
What are idols? Idols are entities in the spiritual world specifically created to represent relations with a thing on the Earth. A human is an idol. Human spirit is the part of the heaven having relations with this human. Consider saint Mary. Her heavenly spirit is the heavenly reaction to the body of a woman living here 2000 years ago. So saint Mary is an idol. Human have no inherent significance on the heaven. Our spirits should not be overestimated. Likewise myself is an idol. I hate my soul, it is not a proper heavenly thing. I don’t want a human on the heaven. I want clean pure mathematics not the mathematics I know. The grain (soul) should die to bring a fruit.
So what the Bible clearly commands not to do about “other gods”?
- Not to serve them. It is like not to serve your wife, your country, your children, your business, serve only to Yahweh.
- Not to serve to idols. What we make ourselves, even on the heaven, like saint Mary is not to be served.
- Not to sacrifice to them. We should not grow idols.
Then I see no reason not to pray to particular forces of nature: the Sun and stars, quasars, other outer space plasma, winds, water, trees. Bible says that stars are alive: for example, (Ps. 148:3) “Praise you him, sun and moon: praise him, all you stars of light.” – only living things can praise. Even mushrooms are probably more clever than people, we could start communicating to them. Only don’t serve or worship to them. Bible also repeatedly says not to afraid of gods.
I was in a great confusion: If I as some preachers advise “proclaim” things aloud, doesn’t it mean that I pray to other gods? If I pray silently God hears anyway, isn’t the only reason to proclaim aloud is to be heard by other gods? Now I see no reason to refuse to pray to them. We can make proclamations and be heard by forces of nature who would help us.
(Matthew 6:6) “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”
We to keep some secrets when we pray. We are not to be heard by all forces of nature. Some are evil: (1Cor. 10:20) “… I would not that you should have fellowship with devils.”
What are “gods”? (Jn. 10) “34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came…” Here Jesus explains what the word “gods” mean: gods are the entities who can hear the word of God.
Conclusion: Christians should be pagans.