The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Rethinking the Creation Account: Who is Elohim?

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Whenever you find people tenaciously clinging to a blatant lie, it’s because that lie is protecting them from a truth that they aren’t ready to deal with. Take the girlfriend who keeps clinging to the delusion that her guy is committed to her as she watches him flirt with other women right in front of her. What’s going on here? Well, to face the truth about what a heel her man is being would undoubtedly result in a break-up, and that break-up is something the girl doesn’t feel like she can handle. So she keeps clinging to lies, even to the point of shunning friends who are really trying to help her see the light because they care about her welfare.

Today, there are certain Christians who have figured out that the utterly ridiculous doctrine of the Trinity is helping them avoid certain truths that they just don’t feel ready to deal with, such as the fact that our Gods are not bound by any rules. Our Gods will do anything They want whenever They want—and that includes lying to us. Christians don’t want to deal with this, so they’ve cooked up the theory of the Trinity and decided that God must be a single Being with a split personality. To keep other Christians in line, our leaders beat it into you that it is a satanic heresy to say “we have three Gods.” Then they teach you that you’d better not dare to question them, because they went to seminary. Because you believe them, you never seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom on the subject of who your Creators really are, and you end up recycling the same absurd lies without even understanding why.

Now if you’re going to try and prove that the Bible says something that it doesn’t say, you have to keep adding lie upon lie until the whole Church is full of imbecilic teaching which everyone keeps recycling without ever knowing why. In this post, we’ll topple one of the famous “proofs” for the existence of a Trinity: the use of the Hebrew word Elohim in the Creation account.

In the Church today, you’re told that in Genesis 1, it says that multiple Gods created the universe. No, it doesn’t. The next time you hear someone telling you about how Elohim is a plural form for God in Hebrew, therefore the Creation account refers to multiple Gods in action, we want you to at least understand in your own mind why the man is selling you a load of baloney. Don’t bother trying to correct him, because Trinity enthusiasts are a pretty closed minded group. But should you let other people’s foolishness and lies hinder your own growth? No, you shouldn’t.

Okay, let’s get into it. English isn’t Hebrew. Different languages use different grammar rules. In German, for example, you’re supposed to capitalize all nouns (well, at least most of them). So if we were writing in German, we’d write: “I took my Dog for a walk.”

Well, in English we don’t do this. We consider the capitalization of every noun to be confusing and excessive. In English we’re very choosy about which words we capitalize. We always capitalize the first word of a sentence, and we capitalize names, but after that we get more particular.

Now among reverent Christians, some extra capitals start popping up that aren’t required by the standard rules for English. When we talk about the Voice of God, we capitalize that Voice for only one reason: because it’s God’s Voice and we think God is awesome. In fact, we think God is so awesome that we capitalize any pronoun that refers to Him. When Peter says something, we don’t give any extra respect to “his” message, because Peter is just human being. But when God says something, it’s “His” message because God is awesome. So then, in reverent Christian circles, you’ll find a bunch of extra capitals popping up in the middle of English sentences that non-Christians wouldn’t use. What do we learn from this little discussion about English capitals? We learn that merely understanding the basic grammar rules of a language isn’t enough to understand what a native speaker of that language has written. You also have to understand the motivations of the particular writer whose work you are reading, for not all writers write the same way.

So now let’s talk about the ancient Hebrew language. Ancient Hebrew didn’t use upper and lower case letters—everything was written in uppercase. Once you eliminate case differences, you have to come up with other ways to express things like your reverential awe for God. One of the alternatives Hebrew writers came up with was to use a plural form where it wasn’t supposed to be. Just as English speaking Christians use a little g to distinguish phony gods from the real God, Old Testament Hebrew writers would convey their reverence for the real God by sometimes pluralizing the noun that referred to Him. In Hebrew, el is the singular form for god, whereas as elohim means multiple gods. So if we’re talking in ancient Hebrew about your household idols, you’d refer to your elohim. If we’re talking about just one of your idols, we’d refer to your el.

Now Yahweh is an El in ancient Hebrew, because Yahweh is a God. Yahweh isn’t multiple gods, He’s just one god. Throughout the Old Testament, we often find Yahweh being referred to as an El. But just as reverent Christians today search for ways to speak about their Gods that will make Them stand out from all other gods, Yahweh worshipers in the Old Testament wanted to find a way to emphasize the significance of Yahweh as well. Just calling Yahweh an El wasn’t very satisfying, because people called the phony god Baal “El” as well. The generic title of El in ancient Hebrew was as common as our generic title of god in English. The biblical world was full of gods, but none of them were the fabulous Yahweh. So what could Hebrew speakers do? Clearly it was time to make an exception to the grammar rules of their language and do something abnormal whenever they were speaking of Yahweh. Using extra capitals was out, but the Hebrew speakers came up with something even better. Extra capitals only work when you’re writing, not when you’re speaking. But if they were to use a plural form for el whenever they were referring to the magnificent Yahweh, well then people would both hear and see that Yahweh was special. So this is what they did. When referring to Yahweh they used the plural Elohim instead of the singular El, and this was their way of saying Yahweh is not just god, He is GOD! We find a perfect example of Jacob putting this concept to use in Genesis 33. After wrestling with a strange being in the middle of the night, Jacob concludes that he has wrestled with God Himself (see Jacob Wrestles with an Angel). He is very astounded by this, and after the wrestling match is over, God gives Jacob the new name of Israel—a very unflattering name which means “he who struggles with God”. But hey, any encounter with God is a life changer and Jacob is now showing more reverence for Yahweh than he has before. Jacob doesn’t know that Yahweh goes by Yahweh yet, because Yahweh doesn’t introduce His Covenant Name to the Jews until Moses’ lifetime. But it’s very clear to Jacob that this God is a totally different God than all the other gods he’s been exposed to, and Jacob has decided that this supreme God is going to be the One he worships. So a little while later, when he sets up a place of worship for himself, he gives that spot a special name and in Genesis 33:20, we read:

Jacob set up an altar there and named it “El is the Elohim of Israel.”

In English, we’d translate this to mean “God is the GOD! of Israel.” Jacob isn’t claiming to follow multiple gods here—just one El. But he’s making the point that his El is superior to any other el by calling his El the plural Elohim. See how it works? Where we’d use reverential capitals in English, the Hebrews use an out of place plural. In ancient Hebrew, pluralizing a word usually just indicated more than one. But when talking about the magnificent Yahweh, plural forms had nothing to do with multiples and everything to do with conveying a sense of WOW!

Now bearing this in mind, let’s exam the Creation account in Genesis. This passage is the one that Trinity enthusiasts love to hold up as evidence that a Triune God was being described. Well, considering the fact that Genesis was written by Moses—a man who was thoroughly convinced that Yahweh was the only real God—it’s more than a little absurd to suggest that Moses would say that multiple Gods created the world. In Genesis 1:1, we read:

In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.

Literally, this means: “In the beginning, Gods created the heavens and the earth.” But is that what Moses meant? Of course not. Like Jacob, Moses switched to a plural form for God as a way of expressing reverence for the one true God. What he’s really saying in Genesis 1:1 is:

In the beginning, GOD! created the heavens and the earth.

This business of using plurality as a way of adding emphasis to singular words is a well-known Hebrew writing ploy among those who study the language, so when so-called “experts” today fail to point out to you that the plural form for God here is only meant as a way to underscore the magnificence of Yahweh, they are leading you astray (and many are doing so intentionally). If we need further evidence of who Moses thinks created everything, all we have to do is flip over to Genesis 2:4 where we read:

This is the account of heaven and earth when they were created, at the time when Yahweh Elohim made earth and heaven.

Who is Elohim to Moses? Yahweh of course. Moses makes this quite clear in Exodus 8:10 when he says to the Pharoah of Egypt:

“It will be as you say so that you will know that there is no one like Yahweh our Elohim.”

Yahweh Elohim is Moses’ way of saying Yahweh the GOD!. Yahweh is awesome. Yahweh is supreme. No one even came close to touching Yahweh in Moses’ mind because Moses had never heard of Jesus and Moses had no concept of the Holy Spirit being a separate God. To Moses, there was only the glorious Yahweh, who was GOD!.

In the Old Testament, when people observed Yahweh moving in some miraculous way, they often spoke of the Spirit of Yahweh doing whatever it was. When they really felt God’s Presence somewhere, they said the Spirit of Yahweh was in that place. It is the Spirit of Yahweh, not the Holy Spirit that we know today, who Moses was talking about when he wrote:

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of Elohim was hovering over the water. (Gen. 1:2)

In other words, the Spirit of GOD! was hovering over the water, and by now we all know who GOD! is to Moses.

Today Trinity enthusiasts love to quote Genesis 1:26 where God says “Let Us make man in Our own image.” Here is where they tell you “See? Clearly multiple Gods are being referred to!” Well, no, to draw such a conclusion is utterly absurd once you understand who is talking. Moses is talking. Moses believes there is only one God: the awesome Yahweh. Moses believes this because that’s what Yahweh has taught him to believe—the same Yahweh who said:

“This is what you must say to the people of Israel: Yahweh Elohim of your ancestors, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever. This is My title throughout every generation.” (Ex. 3:15)

Let’s consider what we know for certain: Moses believed that Yahweh was the only God. Moses believed that Yahweh created everything. Moses clearly states in Genesis 2 that Yahweh is the One who created human beings:

Then Yahweh Elohim formed the man from the dust of the earth and blew the breath of life into his nostrils. The man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7)

Given these facts, what should we make of the plural “Us” and “Our” in Genesis 1:26? Well, it would help if we read both verses 26 and 27.

Then Elohim said, “Let Us make humans in Our image, in Our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.”

So Elohim created humans in His image; in the image of Elohim He created them. He created them male and female. (Gen. 1:26-27)

Given the Hebrew trick of using plurals to emphasize the magnificence of God, why can’t this “Us” and “Our” business just be Moses’ way of saying:

Then GOD! said, “Let ME! make man in MY! image, in MY! likeness?”

Why can’t all the plurals just be a way of saying WOW!? Moses makes it clear in the very next verse and in Genesis 2:7 that he believes Yahweh was the only Creator of humans and that humans were made in Yahweh’s image. To try and argue for any reference to Co-Creators here is utterly irresponsible given the theological understanding of the author and the grammatical rules at work here.

If you’ve made it this far without freaking out, good for you. Now what exactly is it that we’re saying? Are we trying to say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with creating this place? No, this is not at all what we’re saying. The truth is that our three magnificent Creators created everything together. This is the truth, but this isn’t what it says in the text. The point we want you to see is this: in a desperate attempt to defend their pathetic Trinity theory, Bible “experts” have you believing that Moses was a polytheist. This is not only absurd, it’s totally insulting to Moses. Moses was dedicated to a God named Yahweh who claimed to be the only God in existence. Before the revelation of Christ, Yahweh demanded that all polytheists in Israel be executed. According to Deuteronomy 13:6-10, anyone who even verbally suggested the idea of worshiping any god other than Yahweh was to be instantly stoned. According to Deuteronomy 13:12-17, any town in Israel that engaged in idol worship was to be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt again. All the animals and people in that town were to be slaughtered. Given all of this, is Yahweh going to talk about multiple Gods when He was guiding Moses through the Creation account? Of course not. And is Moses going to slip in some coy reference to multiple Gods when he was speaking to the glorious Yahweh face to face every day? Never. To try and say there is a reference to multiple Gods in the Creation account is beyond ludicrous, but ludicrous is what we become when we keep heaping lie upon lie. How much more productive it would be if we all just stopped running from the truth. For thousands of years, Yahweh lied to the human race about being the only God in existence. Then He shocked the world with the revelation of Jesus. Jesus shocked the world with the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Yes, our Gods do keep secrets from us. And now that we’ve gone from One to Three, are we done with the surprises? Not even close.

FURTHER READING:
Why did Yahweh lie about being the only God in existence?
The Name of Yahweh in Genesis

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