LOCATION, LOCATION

Most things start small and then grow bigger. That would seem to be the natural order of things. It’s no different with God. He started with one, then two, then a few more, and then on and on, until He reached the final number (which may not be the final number).

It’s often hard to accept things at face value. We humans expand the importance of things, to the point where the context is either obscured or lost entirely. Just because something is not mentioned doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Blowing things out of proportion won’t lead us to the truth. Some sort of historical consciousness is needed – a sense of the present loaded down with the past. Here’s what Paul considered a straightforward delineation of the facts:

11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.[a]17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

And there’s this:

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known[o] about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. (Romans 1: 18-23 HCSB)

According to Richard Weaver, there are two overriding conditions of reality: the world itself and our opinions of the world. For our purposes, let’s change that to God Himself and our opinions of God. Now the world is what it is. Sometimes our opinions of the world are in accord with what really is, but oftentimes they are not. The same goes for our opinions of God.

Summarizing:

Local God Concept: start with one or two, repeat with one, then small group, then large group, then nation, then world.

Competing Deities: One good with subordinates, one bad with subordinates. Host of bad ones possible. For reference see Exodus 20:3: Do not have other gods besides Me. (HCSB)

No actual being/intelligence that controls (to the minutest levels) all aspects of creation.

Also, conversely, no being who is totally arbitrary about what all humans should say or do, i.e., humans do have free will but are subject to being punished for their behavior (both severe and otherwise) and rewarded as well.

In actuality, it can only work if there’s a partnership between God and humanity; just what is proposed by the Garden of Eden story and subsequent similar accounts.

I think it’s a mistake to think of God as a fact, similar to the facts of the natural world. Humanity’s relationship to God is and always will be open to discussion.