Elohim

By

Keith G. Morehead
The word frequently used for the word God is "Elohim."
""In the beginning God!" The Hebrew word from which this word God is translated is Elohim. While not the most frequently occurring word for the Deity, it occurs 2,570 times. The one which occurs most frequently is the word in the King James Version translated Lord [LORD], and in the American Standard Version, Jehovah." (Translated from the tetragrammaton [YHWH], sometimes called Yahweh or Jehovah.) Elohim, pronounced el-o-heem', can be translated God, god, goddess, gods. It is translated "gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: -angels, exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), and (very) great judges, and mighty (Stone, p. 10)"
 

El is the singular form of the word God, when -im  is added e.g. Elohim, it is made plural. When used to refer to God Almighty, Elohim is similar to a uniplural noun. A uniplural noun can be used to indicate an object in the singular or plural sense. Example: The word sheep can be used to describe one sheep or many sheep. Example: Deer. One deer was at the lake. Many deer are in the woods. Even though Elohim is the plural form of the word, it is ALWAYS translated in the singular form when used in reference to the one true God. There are times when elohim is translated in the plural sense when referring to pagan gods, but it is also translated singularly to describe a pagan deity. Since elohim describes more than one god when translated in the plural form and is used so frequently as a name for God, Trinitarians use it to promote the concept of plurality in reference to God Almighty. Some Trinitarians interpret the word GOD (Elohim) to mean a group of individuals in one unit, specifically, three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, as one God. They believe that the very word elohim sends messages of plurality within the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity uses the word Elohim to give support to its argument that three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, can exist as one God. This uniplural interpretation of the word elohim is used to support the Trinitarian dogma in texts of the Bible where the solitary "Oneness" of God is disputed.

When applying the Trinitarian explanation of the word Elohim, we find that God's presentation of His nature is incompatible with Trinitarian thought. Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El- -singular); Genesis 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God (Elohim- -plural) talked with him. God (El- -singular) appeared to Abram. Only one individual appeared in Genesis 17:1, but in 17:3, that same individual, God (Elohim- -plural), appeared to Abram. Was God alone during one moment and accompanied by the other two members of the Trinity in the the next, while Abram continually saw only one LORD? This would be a very difficult feat regardless of the semantic side stepping. The method of explanation implemented by Trinitarians to avoid this potential contradiction in their doctrine is to believe that the triune nature of God was appearing to Abram and talking to him.

If Trinitarians do not interpret El to be the entire Godhead, then one member of the Godhead is claiming to be "Almighty" over the other two members. Does this manner of interpretation remain consistent with the basic truths of the Bible? It is not consistent with the Bible, nor with common sense!

Psalm 71:22  I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. God (El, singular) is called the Holy One of Israel. When God (El, singular) is given the assignment to be the Holy One of Israel, there is no indication or connotation of the triune nature. It would appear that God is disclaiming association with anyone else. Trinitarians escape this in the same way as above, by concluding that every time "God" (El or Elohim, singular or uniplural) is mentioned, the entire triune Godhead is being described. When Trinitarians conclude that God is referring to one of the three persons of the Trinity, they destroy the Deity of the other two members in the partnership.

Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. It says they tempted God (Elohim, plural) the Holy One of Israel. This verse reinforces the requirement for Trinitarians to understand God  as the entire triune Godhead each and every time God is mentioned in order to maintain a Trinitarian consistency throughout the Bible. To deny this is to separate one member of the Trinity to be the Holy One when God is referred to in the singular sense (El). This practice of interpretation causes even a more severe inconsistency in Isaiah 45:21, 22.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God (Elohim, plural) else beside me; a just God  (El, singular) and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Verse 22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God (El, singular) and there is none else. In this text, God (Elohim, plural) says there is no God beside Him and then God (El, singular) states that there is none else. There is no confusion from this verse if it is interpreted in the light of those verses more easily understood. God is GOD. He is alone. Whether He is called El or Elohim, He is GOD and He is alone. But if God (El- -singular) is interpreted to be one member of the Trinity, that member, whichever one you choose, is separating himself from the other members and claiming Deity only to himself, thus stripping the other members of the Trinity of their Deity and destroying any thread of consistency in their doctrine. To evade this problem some Trinitarians explain the scripture by concluding that the entire Godhead is speaking in both the singular and plural references to God (El or Elohim). The Trinitarian method of explaining Bible texts is inconsistent . If they were to use acceptable methods of interpretation, and take the general truth of the Bible into consideration, the doctrine of the Trinity would cease to exist as a standard doctrine of churches.

If we find it difficult to understand that GOD MEANS GOD, whenever we read the word God, we can say to ourselves, "all Deity." Example: Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God  [all Deity] with us. It was not just the second person of a Trinity with us, the whole being of God was with us in Christ Jesus. Example: 2 Corinthians 5:19: To wit, that God [all Deity] was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. It was not the first or second person of the Trinity in Christ; it was all of God.

The same understanding assists one to comprehend and reply to the Trinitarian argument that, "the Word was with God," means the Word was face to face with God. This interpretation has become popular among Trinitarians because one famous Greek scholar (A.T. Robertson) suggested in one sentence that the preposition with means "face to face." If the Word was face to face with God, then the Word could not be God. Anything facing God was already facing all Deity, and therefore could not be deity. The Trinitarians must make the mistake of understanding "God" in verse 1 to mean God the Father, first person of the Trinity in order to support their interpretation.

The following paragraph is repetitive in hope of driving home the thought that the word God  means all of God, the entire Deity, all Divinity. If these verses are followed closely, their real meaning, and the real meaning of God will become more clear. Mark 12:26 (Jesus is replying to the Sadducees here)...How in the bush God [all Deity] spake unto him [Moses], saying, I am the God [all Deity] of Abraham, and the God [all Deity] of Isaac, and the God [all Deity] of Jacob? Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God [all Deity] shall give unto him the throne of his father David. Luke 7:16 And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God [all Deity] , saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God [all Deity] hath visited his people. John 5:18 ...but said also that God [all Deity] was his Father, making himself equal with God [all Deity] . John 10:33 For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because thou being a man, makest thyself God [all Deity] . John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God[all Deity] , believe also in me. John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God [all Deity]. Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God [all Deity] , which shall justify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith. Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God [all Deity] , thought it not robbery to be equal with God [all Deity] . 1 Timothy 1:17 ..unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God [all Deity], be honour and glory for ever and ever. 1 Timothy 2:3 .....in the sight of God [all Deity] our Saviour. 1 Timothy 3:16 God [all Deity] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 6:1 ....that the name of God [all Deity] and his doctrine be not blasphemed. Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God [all Deity] , the firstborn of every creature: Hebrews 1:8: But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God [all Deity] , is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Jude 4 .....denying the only Lord God[all Deity] , and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 25 To the only wise God [all Deity] our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.

Bibliography

  1. Keith G. Morehead, Fictional Foundations of Trinitarian Thought, Oneness Ministries, St. Paul, MN., 1988.
  2. Nathan Stone, Names of God, Moody Press, Chicago, 1944.


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