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Genesis 1.1

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:47 am
by existence
In the beginning the Elohim created the heavens and the earth - why is Elohim plural but 'created' singular?

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:44 pm
by kwrandolph
existence wrote:In the beginning the Elohim created the heavens and the earth - why is Elohim plural but 'created' singular?


The singular verb is easy, in that ancient Israel was monotheistic, as long as they obeyed Torah.

I’ve heard a few reasons for the plural of Elohim:

Probably the one that makes most sense is that this is a plural of respect of an inferior to a superior, the highest superior being God. We see this also in that the word “Lord” is usually plural even when referring to a single human master.

I’ve heard some say that this is similar to the “royal ‘We’” as used in English.

Some try to make a theological statement that this is a reference to the Trinity. I think this argument is weakened by the first reasons given above.

I hope this answers your question.

Karl W. Randolph.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:36 am
by existence
I think there's more theological significance as the plurality is confirmed 3 times in verse 26 of the same chapter - and the Elohim said 'let us make ha adm in our image and in our likeness. Repetition by the writer is a literary device used by virtually all Bible writers to emphasize something important.
egs - Genesis 2.3 – Elohim blesses twice Genesis 13.6 – Abram and Lot could not live together twice – And the land was not able to bear them, that they may dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:19 am
by kwrandolph
existence wrote:I think there's more theological significance as the plurality is confirmed 3 times in verse 26 of the same chapter - and the Elohim said 'let us make ha adm in our image and in our likeness.


In this verse the plurality is indicated by a different word—“our”.

existence wrote:Repetition by the writer is a literary device used by virtually all Bible writers to emphasize something important.
egs - Genesis 2.3 – Elohim blesses twice Genesis 13.6 – Abram and Lot could not live together twice – And the land was not able to bear them, that they may dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.


This is a different question than your original one.

Your original question is why is אלהים plural while using a singular verb? To which I replied, why is a singular human “lord” even referring to the owner of a slave, often in plural? Does that not indicate that we are dealing with a linguistic issue, and not necessarily a theological one? It’s for this reason that I don’t push a theological answer for your original question.

Karl W. Randolph.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:55 am
by SteveMiller
Karl,
Where is "lord" plural referring to a singular human master?

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:47 pm
by kwrandolph
SteveMiller wrote:Karl,
Where is "lord" plural referring to a singular human master?


Genesis 24:51
Genesis 39:2–3, 7–8, 16, 19–20
Genesis 40:1, 7
Genesis 42:30, 33
Isaiah 19:4
and many more.

Compare to Proverbs 30:10 where “lord” is singular referring to a human master.

Karl W. Randolph.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:10 pm
by SteveMiller
Thanks Karl! I didn't know that.
You are right, that makes the plural of elohim not significant as far as God being triune.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:30 am
by kwrandolph
SteveMiller wrote:Thanks Karl! I didn't know that.
You are right, that makes the plural of elohim not significant as far as God being triune.


Which is why I prefer other indicators to show that God is triune, starting with Genesis 1:2. Another example is Numbers 6:24–26 where each verse lists the primary function we receive from each person of the Trinity (שלום can come from either שלה meaning “peace” or שלם meaning “filling” as in “filled with the Spirit”). There are other verses as well.

Karl W. Randolph.

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:10 pm
by SteveMiller
thanks Karl!

Re: Genesis 1.1

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:53 am
by SteveMiller
Karl,
Could you share your list of verses that show that God is triune.
I would like to keep them for reference.
thanks.