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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting to Know God: Elohim

In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth. - Genesis 1:1 (Parenthesis mine.)

Elohim is the first name of God used in the Bible and is also the name that is used the most frequently, occurring over 2,500 times.  It is the plural, masculine form of the word "El" which means "mighty, strong, prominent."  In Biblical times, all of the gods went by the title "El", and for that reason, the one true God is often set apart by an addition to the name "El", which we will talk about in later posts.  As for Elohim, it, too, was a title used to refer to all gods, and not just the one true God.  The interesting thing is that when referring to all other "gods", the plural word "Elohim" was used with plural verbs.  Such is not the case, however, when referring to the one true God.  Rather the term "Elohim" uses a singular verb to illustrate the case of the trinity.  One God, set apart in three persons:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  One but three.  Three but one.  Singular, yet plural. Plural yet singular.  Crazy, huh?

Look at what it says in Genesis 1:26:   And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.   Us?  Our?  Who is God talking to?  No one else was around?  He was speaking to Himself, to the other Persons of the Trinity.  But notice, He said "in our image", not images and "after our likeness", not likenesses.  Three yet one.  Plural yet singular.  That is Elohim.  He's not just God, but He's the God that goes beyond what we can even comprehend by consisting of three beings in one.  Yes, from the very first verse in the Bible, God proves His greatness and His complexity.  Yet, He also proves His love and compassion by writing His Word in such a way that there is no means for Him to be confused with the heathen gods.  He is set apart, explained, yet unexplainable.

It boggles the mind, but at the same time, it also sets the mind at ease.  After all, what could life possibly throw at us that this complex, mighty God can not handle?  If God can exist as one being yet three distinct persons (and He can), what can't He do?  Nothing!  From the very first verse in the Bible, God is telling us that there is nothing He can't handle.  Talk about starting your story with a hook to grab the readers' attention!  The greatest writers of all time can't hold a candle to that Book beginning!

Elohim -- one God, yet three persons.  One strong, mighty Creator, yet so much more.  What an awesome God we serve!

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