In the Abrahamic lore, El (a.k.a. Yahweh) is the supreme or “one true God” and all other gods are supposedly inferior or evil. Of course, this is classic Abrahamic oppression, as the God of Abraham chains and oppresses all the gods of the pagan world to support his tyranny.
I have always had an interest in just what pagan deities in particular were the enemies of the God of Abraham, so I looked for how many pagan gods were vilified in the Bible.
Here is a list of pagan deities mentioned in the Bible
- Adrammelech – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:31. He is a solar deity, supposedly related to Moloch, and was worshiped in the town of Sepharvaim. Possibly another form of Baal/Bel, since he is a Baal deity.
- Amon – Mentioned in Jeremiah 46:25. Amon refers to the Egyptian deity Amun. He is a deity of the wind and air and listed as a king of deities in the Egyptian pantheon, and was also a transcendental, self-created, creator deity, and was sometimes even viewed as a friend of the troubled and poor. He was particularly worshiped in Thebes.
- Anamelech – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:31. She was an Assyrian goddess said to be worshiped in the town of Sepharvaim. She the lunar goddess to Adrammelech the sun god.
- Asherah – Appears in Judges 6:25, 26, 28, and 30. In Semitic mythology, she was a fertility and mother goddess, cited as the mother of the world. Said to be the wife of El, until he became the God of Abraham. Worshiped mainly in Canaan.
- Ashima – Mentioned in 2 kings 17:30. She was a West Semitic goddess of fate or destiny.
- Ashtoreth (Astaroth) – Referenced in 1 Kings 11:5 and 30. Ashtoreth is another name for Astarte, the goddess of fertility, love, sex, and war. Astarte is actually the Greek name for the goddess Ishtar, or Ashtart. She was worshiped in Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan.
- Baal – Mentioned in 2 Kings 18:18-23 and 25-28. He is a principle deity of the pagan world and worshiped in many forms. On his own, he is a god of storms, the sun, fertility, and power, among various other things. He is the rival of El/Yahweh and the greatest enemy of the Israelite religion. In Babylon he is called Bel, and he was once worshiped in Egypt as well.
- Baal-berith – Mentioned in Judges 8:33 and 9:4. He is a form of Baal and identifed with Baal-zebul, to the point that his worshipers often carried small fly statues of him. He is a god of covenants and is representative of a kind of Baal worship prevailing in Israel, at least according to Judges. Was worshipped in Canaan.
- Baal-Peor – Appears in Numbers 25:3 and 5. A form of Baal associated with Mt. Peor. He was worshiped by the Moabites. Some identify him with Chemosh, another Moabite deity. His cult was said to be very licentious (in order words ignoring social standards, especially in regards to sexuality).
- Baal-zebub – Mentioned in 2 Kings 1:2, 3, 6, and 18, and also appears in the New Testament as Beelzebub. A form of Baal (often the same as Baal). His name means “lord of the high place” and was worshiped by the Philistines. The name Beelzebub was that of the devil, as implied by the New Testament and the Testament of Solomon.
- Bel – Mentioned in Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 50:2 and 51:44. Same as Baal, was the Babylonian name for him (or Baal the Canaanite name for Bel).
- Castor and Pollux – Mentioned in Acts 28:11. In Greek myth, they are brothers who are born of one mother (Leda) but different fathers (Castor was born from a king of Sparta, while Pollux was born from Zeus). They are the patrons of sailors.
- Chemosh – Mentioned in 1 Kings 11:7 and 33. He was the national deity of the Maobites, and was variously labelled as a destroyer and fish deity. Also associated with Ashtar/Ishtar.
- Dagon – Mentioned in 1 Samuel 2:2-4 and 7. He was a Semitic deity of fish, fishing, grain, and fertility.
- Diana (Artemis) – Mentioned in Acts 19:24, 27, 28, 34, and 35. She was the Greco-Roman goddess hunting, the moon, and the forest. In Rome especially, she is associated with chastity and virginity. In Ephesus, Greece, she was worshiped as a mother goddess, with the added fertility quality.
- Gad – Mentioned in Isaiah 65:11. He was a pan-Semitic deity of fortune worshiped by many Hebrews during Babylonian captivity.
- The Golden Calf – Appears in the Book of Exodus. It was a bull idol worshiped by the Israelites while Moses was preparing the Ten Commandments. Bull worship was common in the ancient world, and it’s possible the idol was inspired by Egyptian religion.
- Ishtar (known as The Queen of Heaven) – Mentioned in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:17, 18, 19, and 25. Ishtar was a goddess of love, fertility, sex, and war, and also had associations with life and death. She was worshiped throughout Mesopotamia and the ancient Middle East.
- Jupiter/Zeus – Mentioned in Acts 14:12. In Greco-Roman myth, he was a ruler of heaven and a god of thunder, law, and civilization.
- Kaiwan – Mentioned in Amos 5:26. In Assyria and Babylon, he was a star god associated with Saturn.
- Meni – Mentioned in Isaiah 65:11. Meni was a pan-Semitic god of destiny worshiped by some Hebrews during the Babylonian captivity.
- Mercury (Hermes) – Mentioned in Acts 14:12. He was a messenger of the gods associated with trade, commerce, and the underworld.
- Merodach (Marduk) – Mentioned in Jeremiah 50:2. Merodach was a name for the Babylonian deity Marduk. He was associated with water, vegetation, judgement, and magic, and is known for his thunderbolts. May be a form of Bel.
- Milcom (Malcham, Melchom) – Mentioned in 1 Kings 11:5 and 33. Milcom, or Melchom, was a deity of the Ammonites, probably just another name for Moloch.
- Moloch – Appears in Leviticus 20:2-5. Supposedly, Moloch was a destroyer and a sun god, to whom child sacrifices were made in his fire. However, there is no evidence that there was ever a deity named Moloch, or that he was ever worshipped.
- Nebo – Mentioned in Isaiah 46:1. Also called Nabu, Nebo was a Babylonian deity of wisdom and writing. Sometimes worshipped as a deity of fertility and water.
- Nergal – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:30. Babylonian god of the sun, war, pestilence, fire, the desert, and the underworld.
- Nibhaz – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:31. A deity of the Avim, also said to be worshipped in Syria in the form of a dog.
- Rimmon – Mentioned in 2 Kings 5:18. A Syrian weather deity, although in the same Syria he is almost identical to Baal.
- Sikkuth – Mentioned in Amos 5:26. Identical with Sakkuth. A star god associated with the deity Kaiwan and the planet Saturn.
- Succoth-benoth – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:30. Succoth-benoth was a goddess of wisdom worshipped by the Samarians in Babylon.
- Tammuz – Mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14. Tammuz was a Sumerian and Babylonian god of vegetation, food, and fertility.
- Tartak – Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:31. A deity worshiped in the form of a donkey.
I’m not not done yet. Christian demonology in general has pagan deities as evil spirits. Some I already mentioned include Adrammelech, Baal/Beelzebub, Berith, Astaroth, Nergal, and Amon. Here’s a list of others from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal I didn’t already mention.
- Alastor: Was a title for Zeus, or an entity identified with Nemesis. The avenger of evil deeds, especially familial bloodshed, and the personification of a curse.
- Belphegor: Based on the deity Baal-Peor, who is another form of Baal.
- Beyrevra: Is a demonization of the wrathful deity Bhairava, who in Hinduism is a fierce form of Shiva.
- Cali: A demonization of the goddess Kali.
- Deumus: Based on Deimos, Greek personification of terror.
- Eurynome: Based on a Greek titan goddess.
- Ganga-Gramma: A demonization of the Hindu goddess Ganga, who was the goddess of the Ganges river.
- Picollus: Comes from Prussian pagan deities associated with the seasons.
- Torngarsuk: Based on a powerful sky deity in Inuit mythology.
And that’s the end of the long list of non-Abrahamic, pagan deities mentioned in the Bible and Christian lore.
One thought on “Pagan deities in the Bible (and Christianity in general)”
Thanks for the list, researching for graceinchrist.org.
Of course we can’t logically have multiple supreme or all powerful deities, we can only have one and by implication the rest must be fake, pretenders or opposers.