How many gods are there? My answer is: none or many. How many uses of the word "God" are there? I used to think that belief in a single God united Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and some Hindus. However, groups in these traditions can use this word in very different senses. Bigots think that He is one of them. If "God" means just the object of mystical experience, then it need not refer to a person.
For a human use of the word "God" in Anderson's Technic History, see here.
Some Ivanhoans: "God."
Ythrians of the New Faith: "God the Hunter."
Merseians: "the God."
Aycharaych: "immortal God" (that may mean just that the Chereionite knew how to manipulate a human audience).
- and, outside the Technic History, in World Without Stars, some inhabitants of a planet orbiting a star in intergalactic space call our galaxy "God."
Aycharaych was speaking Anglic to a Terran. In the other four cases, "God" translates some word in an alien language: Planha and Eriau in the case of the Ythrians and Merseians, respectively. Those words must mean something that justifies their translation as "God" but they cannot entail any of the abstract theological doctrines that have been formulated on Earth. I think that, minimally, the alien words translated as "God" must mean some combination of:
However, there is no question of a personal relationship with either "God the Hunter" or "the God." A "God" that is merely present, like the Sun or our galaxy seen from outside, need not be particularly personal except perhaps in a very abstract sense, maybe just by the use of a personal instead of an impersonal pronoun?