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Elohim

Updated: May 7

Daniel Tan



Today I’m going to be talking about something that I just realised. Having exposed myself to more Hebrew names, I came to the realisation today about a certain aspect of God that has been hiding under our noses the whole time. We have talked about the concept of the Trinity, whereby YHVH (commonly known as Jehovah or the LORD) is a tripartite being that co-exists in the form of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Perhaps you might also have heard of how this Trinity God exists in a constant relationship of love, which is the basis not only for their relationship with us, but also this idea of God as love. Perhaps you might have been led all the way back to the Creation narrative in Genesis, which has God saying “let us make mankind in our image” (Genesis 1:26), and that through that statement it sheds light on how even from the very beginning, God was a tripartite being.


Well, if you knew Hebrew, you'd probably have been rolling your eyes at how much we non-Jews have to delve so deep for the most obvious of things. What do I mean? Well, have you ever wondered about the names of God? I'm sure at some point most of you reading this must have. El Shaddai, YHVH and famously, Elohim.


But did you realise something wrong with how the word Elohim has being translated? I doubt you would unless you knew some Hebrew. And I thought I knew some Hebrew but evidently not enough. The names El and Eloh come from the Canaanite worship of their gods. The supreme god would've been called El. This isn't surprising context considering that Genesis was given only to the Israelites after their enslavement in Egypt.


However, the Hebrew suffix -im, which is added to things like Seraph_im_, Cherub_im_ and the books of the Prophets (the Ketuv_im_) etc., is also the same suffix attached to Eloh. This converts Eloh into Eloh_im_, which would be the gods or the pantheon. If by now you haven't caught on, let me give you another chance. Elohim, directly translated into English, should be God*s* not God. Yet we keep translating it into God. Not for poor reasoning either. The words used to refer to God’s actions in Genesis 1 are in the singular form. This means that from the very beginning, from the first reference of God in Genesis 1:1, He has always been They. The reason why God inhabits the name Elohim before He reveals His true name to Moses, is because it is a representation of their relationship. They are Elohim in the singular. And if by now your mind has not yet exploded, you’re either already clued in to this already or you still don't understand what I'm saying (which really doesn't matter either).


We don't need to search so deeply for proof. There are other teachings that we might need to search more deeply and use the time for. But for the proof of God's status as a multipartite being, you need only look at the first reference to ‘God’ in the Bible. And you can take that to the bank.



Daniel Tan

Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections.

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