In that Godhead, as Jesus clearly and repeatedly taught, God the Father hold ultimate power and control of earthly events. Jesus Christ serves as his executive to carry out his instructions and divine will. This relationship was clearly and repeatedly taught by the Savior during his mortal ministry (see Jn. 4:34; 5:17-20, 22-27, 30-36; 6:29, 38-40, 44, 57, 65; 7:16-18, 28-29; 8:16-18, 26-29, 38, 41-42, 54-55; 10:14-18, 25-38; 11:4, 41-42; 12:26-28, 44-50; 13:3, 14:1-21, 26, 28-31; 15:10, 16, 23-27; 16:2-16, 23-24, 27-32; 17:1-26; 20:17, 21, 31). The relationship was succinctly summarized by John the Baptist, who testified that "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand" (Jn. 3:35).
The Latter-day Saints recognize the role of the Godhead in directing the affairs of man, and give full worship and allegiance to God the Father, whom they regard as their God. Joseph Smith taught,
Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God--that is pertaining to us; . . . I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one, . . . (History of the Church, Vol.6, p.474).With this position clearly defined and established, let us deal with the question of the existence of other Gods. The following extract from the writings of a well-known Mormon apologist summarizes a portion of the Biblical evidence that many Gods exist:
References to false gods speak in a derogatory tone, condemning the practice of idolatry and the sexual excesses of the fertility rites often associated with the worship of those false gods. Those passages often called for repentance, for the renunciation of false-god worship, and for the destruction of the groves and other wicked places of abomination and idolatry. The LORD God of Israel had no association with those false and evil gods, and he called for their overthrow and destruction.
In contrast, there are many passages which speak of Gods who dwell in the presence of the LORD God of Israel, who associate with him, and who have his same objectives and characteristics. The LORD of Israel is depicted as associating with them, and as laboring with and among them. This type of passage is often found in instances of high praise and adoration for God, in situations of worship, in instances of extolling the greatness and goodness of God. They assert the supremacy of Jehovah in the Old Testament, and acknowledge and teach the role of the Godhead in the New Testament. The passages cited below are regarded as examples of Bible passages which teach of a plurality of Gods.
The account of the fall of Adam and Eve also contains evidences of more than one God. When the serpent tempted Eve, he told her, "Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5). Though the serpent attempted to mix falsehood with truth in his comments to Eve, God's statement after the fall confirmed that this portion of the serpent's communication with Eve was correct. After their fall the LORD said, "Behold, the man is hecome as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22).
Again, almost two millennia later, at the time of the tower of Babel, the LORD said, "Let us go down, and there confound their language..." (Gen. 11:7)
These passages all show that there was more than one God participating in the creation, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the confounding of tongues at the tower of Babel.
Joshua exclaimed, "The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, - . ."(Josh. 22:22; see 22:5). Solomon, as he built the great temple, wrote: "The house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods" (2 Chron. 2:5).
The psalmists repeatedly acknowledged that there are many Gods. Asaph wrote, "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods" (Ps. 82:1; see Is. 14:13: congregation.") David wrote, "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, 0 Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works" (Ps. 86:8). Another psalm says, "The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods" (Ps. 95:3). And another says, "I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods" (Ps. 135:5). The next psalm proclaims, "0 give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 0 give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth forever" (Ps. 136:2). Another psalm of David promises, " will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name. . . "(Ps. 138:1-2).
The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was recipient of the greatest prophetic vision ever revealed to one who wasn't an authorized prophet of God. The vision, revealed by "God in heaven" (Dan. 2:28), showed the future fate of empires and the rolling forth of the Lord's great work. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged to Daniel that "your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings,..." (Dan. 2:47). He spoke of Daniel as one "in whom is the spirit of the holy gods" and told Daniel "I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee" (Dan. 4:8-9, 18). His queen also spoke of Daniel as one "in whom is the spirit of the holy gods" and said that he had "wisdom like the wisdom of the gods" (Dan. 5:11). Nebuchadnezzar's son, Belshazzar, also told Daniel, "I hear the spirit of the gods is in thee" (Dan. 5:14) and Daniel reminded him that "the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour" (Dan. 5:18).
As joint-heirs with Christ, and thus heirs of all things, we can also be a "lord of all" (Gal. 4:1) and realize the full glory of being an "heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 1:7; see also Tit. 3:7, Jas. 2:5, and Eph. 3:6). This helps us understand the full intent of Christ's commandment to "be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). It also helps us to grasp the full meaning of Paul's statement that "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14-15; Col. 1:28).
This knowledge of the doctrine of heirship also helps us understand who the Gods will be who are instructed to "worship him, all ye gods" (Ps. 97:7) when the Lord comes in glory at the beginning of his millennial reign (see Ps. 97:1-10).
The apostle John speaks of the three members of the Godhead and their combined mission, saying, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one, and there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one" (1 Jn. 5:7-8).
With the new light which Jesus gave to man concerning the Godhead, New Testament witnesses adopted different terminology, repeatedly identifying God the Father as God, and Jesus Christ as Lord, and identifying the three as having direct rule and responsibility for this earth. Thus Paul wrote of "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all" (Eph. 4:5-6).
Thus Jesus Christ was the executive by whom the Father made this earth (Heb. 1:2; Eph. 3:9). Christ came to the earth in the meridian of time as a mortal being and taught his people. He died on the cross to atone for their sins, broke the bands of death and began the resurrection process, and yet will come at the end of the earth's probationary period to rule and reign during the millennium as King of kings.
It is Christ who is the mediator with the Father (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). It is Christ whom the Father has set to be over the Church (Eph. 1:22). It is Christ who will judge mankind (John 5:22-23, 27). It is only through belief in Christ that man can attain eternal life (John 3:16). It is only through Christ that man can attain salvation (Jn. 14:6), and it is only through Christ's grace that man can become a God: an heir of God through Christ (Gal. 4:1, 7).
It is this delegation of responsibility for the affairs of this earth that caused Paul to write,
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:Thus, Christ is LORD!! He is the one and only God for this earth in the sense that he is the Father's executor, and the channel through which all eternal blessings flow to mankind.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).
The key to understanding the scriptures concerning the nature of God, then, is to recognize (1) that there are, can be, and will be many Gods, (2) that God the Father holds ultimate Godship over all mankind here on the earth, and (3) that Jesus Christ is the Father's representative and executive, with full responsibility for this earth and all its inhabitants. This is exactly what Paul explained in his epistle to the Corinthians:[Duane S. Crowther, adapted from a "manuscript in progress."]
For though there be that are called gods; whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Cor. 8:5-6).
Now, let's turn to the matter of the Isaiah passage which was the subject of the question. Isaiah 44:8 is only one of several passages in a four-chapter section of Isaiah which emphatically warns against the evils of idolatry. Others include 43:10-12; 44:6; 45:18, 21, 22; and 46:9. Note the heavy emphasis in these chapters on waming Israel of the dangers of idolatry and rebuking the people for their sins:
The Israelite nation is described in the Bible many times as a disobedient son, a son who remains faithful to his father only for short periods of time and then looks for another. Moses, for instance, had left the people of Israel while he went to receive God's will on Mt. Sinai, only to return and find them claiming that the God who had delivered them from Egypt was not Jehovah but an idol--a golden bull calf they had built (Ex. 32:4).
This type of scene was multiplied many times over before and after the Israelites reached the promised land. Is it any wonder that the Lord, through his prophets, instructed Israel that for them there was no other God besides Jehovah? Isaiah 44:8 is not a statement delineating how many Gods exist in the eternities, but a statement telling Israel there is no other God over them--no pagan or graven god has power, and only Jehovah can save them.
The monotheistic flavor of the identified verses in these four chapters of Isaiah must be interpreted in the light of the dozens of passages cited above which give clear evidence of a plurality of Gods. Obviously, these chapters were intended as extra-strong statements about the role of Jehovah as Israel's God to combat the pernicious idolatry which had gripped the nation. Taking those few verses alone, outside of the context of the entire Bible, leads to a false understanding of the nature of God.