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Archive for October, 2014

Elohim_ebraico

 

Recently, at my Jewish roots Bible study, we got into a discussion regarding why one of the words for God in the Bible – Elohim – is in the plural form in the original Hebrew of Genesis 1:1, and also why God says in Genesis 1:26, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” In fact, there are numerous other passages in which the plural form of God, Elohim, is used instead of other singular forms. Those familiar with the Shema know that God Himself said, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) Interestingly, the word for God in this passage of scripture is Elohim (plural), but in the very next breath it says “the Lord is one!” So, why would God inspire the writers of the Bible to use the word Elohim in some passages instead of a singular form of the word?

At my Bible study, different people gave analogies in an attempt to explain this concept. One person gave the example of water being composed of H20, but with three different states – solid, liquid, and gas. Another example given was the analogy of a candle which consists of the wax, the wick, and the flame – all with different properties, but belonging to the same candle. Then I chimed in with what I had heard someone say several years ago that made a great deal of sense to me. I even wrote about it in one of my previous articles entitled “If I Should Die Before I Wake…

Basically, the person was trying to explain the concept of the Trinity, which we know is a heated point of contention between other religions and Christianity – and even within Christendom. He said that humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and we consist of three parts – spirit, soul, and body. (*Genesis 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23)   However, we consider ourselves to be one person – not three. Likewise, God consists of three parts – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; I John 5:7) And just as the Shema states, He also considers Himself to be one – not three.

So perhaps this is the reason why the Bible uses the plural form for God, Elohim, because He is made up of three parts…just as we are.

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*The word for breath in Hebrew is ruach – the word imitates the very sound of breath – is the same word for Spirit, as is the case in both ancient Greek (pneuma) and Latin (spiritus). God created man by putting His breath, His Spirit, within him.   (David Guzik: Study Guide for Genesis 2)

 

(Image Credit:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elohim_ebraico.jpeg)

 

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