Names of God: Elohim

Musings, Names of God

Name/Attribute/Meaning: God, Judge, Creator

Transliteration: Elohim  אֱלֹהִים

First Place the Name appears: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Number of Occurrences in OT: 2,606 times

This is the first revelation of our Creator named in Genesis 1:1 as Elohim. It is interesting to note that in this initial introduction the word is plural in form but used as a singular.   Both El and Elohim are used not only in the context of Hebrew deity but in references to other god figures of other religions as well. (Psalm 86)  Elohim is often shorted to “El” when used in conjunction with other descriptives ie. “El Shaddai”.

The significance of this plural noun used with singular verbs is hotly contested by scholars.  It is difficult to avoid drawing conclusions about the triune nature of our God by this apparent disparity.  This idea is supported by Genesis 1:26 which records, “Let us make man in our image…” There are modern examples of a plural used as a singular. A common example is the use of the “United States” as a singular.  I am not sure this does not further support a trinitarian view but I am a southerner and have a pretty strong concept of the 10th Amendment! I think that this name alone may not be conclusive but the weight of evidence throughout scripture makes it seem like a strong indicator. The necessity of trinitarian doctrine is to understand this apparent plurality of the Father, Son and Spirit while continuing to honor the revelation of the Shema. In Deuteronomy 6:4,

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

God, the Father, was present at Creation.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is revealed in the Gospel of John to be the “Word” and in John 1:1, “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Finally, in Genesis 1:2b, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” 

How the LORD can be absolutely One God and at the same time exist in in three distinct persons is the perfect example of the necessary tension required for faith.  Faith is required when finite beings consider the Infinite.  If we could understand completely we could be sure that we had oversimplified. No metaphor or example will hold up but just like fire and electricity, we do not have to fully understand them in order to be comforted by their presence but we must treat them with respect.

If you have never taken time to really get to know God then this all may seem very difficult and even overwhelming but I believe that Genesis 1:1 is written exactly this way for the very purpose of our God’s desire to know you and to make Himself known to you.  He desires a personal relationship with you and we will discuss further in the next post the more personal name for GOD and how it came to be known. 

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You are the GOD of all creation and You have chosen to reveal Yourself to us from the very beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation!

You did not need us but You chose not only to create us but to redeem us from our sin and to continue to lead us toward Yourself!

We seek not just Your Name but Your heart.  Make us more like You in every area of our lives and help us to reflect You clearly to everyone we meet each day.

We love You and thank You for loving us first!

In Jesus’ Name, ~Amen