The root meaning of elohim is ‘the powerful one’, and so elohim stresses God’s omnipotence. As such, it was a particularly appropriate term for Moses to have used to describe the Creator God of Creation Week. ‘His power is seen much more clearly in creating many diverse objects and beings in a short time, than it can be seen in a long, drawn-out evolutionary timetable.’1
Although generally thought of as a name for God, elohim is rather a title or a descriptive expression. The truly personal name of God is the one He revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:15), namely YHWH, often transliterated Yahweh or in English as Jehovah and written in capitals, Lord. It means ‘I am who I am’ and so means ‘the self-existent one’ or ‘the one who causes to be’. It is used of God’s personal relationship with Adam and Eve in Genesis chapters 2 and 3,2 where Moses uses the combined term Yahweh elohim, which the translators have rendered as ‘the Lord God’.
References and notes
Taylor, C.V., The First Hundred Words, The Good Book Co., Gosford, NSW, Australia, p. 3, 1996. Return to text.
As well as of God’s covenant relationship with His people. Return to text.
The Tri-unity of God
The doctrine of the Trinity states that in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and co-equal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the same in essence but distinct in role—three Persons (or three centres of consciousness) and one Being (see diagram). This doctrine is difficult to understand, but this is what God has revealed in the Bible about His own Being, so we should believe it. For example, at the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was seen descending and landing upon the Son, and the voice of the Father was heard from Heaven (Matthew 3:16–17). And when Jesus gave the Great Commission, He ordered His followers to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18–20).
The different senses of oneness and threeness mean that the doctrine is not self-contradictory. This is similar in principle to saying that the navy, army and air force are three distinct fighting entities, but are also one armed service. Note: this is not to suggest that the three persons are ‘parts’ of God. Indeed, each Person has the fullness of the Godhead (see Colossians 2:9). A better analogy is that space contains three dimensions (length, breadth, height), yet the dimensions are not ‘parts’—the concept of ‘space’ is meaningless without all three dimensions.
The Trinity and the God of love
The Bible reveals, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8, 16). This is distinctive of the Christian faith, and means that love is part of God’s very nature, even before He created anything. But love requires at least two persons—self-love is not really love at all. So there must be at least two persons in the Godhead. If God were only one person, then love could not be part of His nature.
Love is even greater when the love between two persons is not restricted to themselves, but is combined and directed towards another. This should happen in a family, where the husband and wife love each other, and also combine their love towards their child. So for God to exemplify love in its fullest sense, there must be three Persons, so there is both individual and collective love. Any more than three is unnecessary for collective love, because it would just increase the number of persons involved, not the nature of the love.
Thanks for sharing. As you said,“I NEVER GET TIRED OF REVIEWING THIS WONDERFUL REVELATION IN GOD’S WORD…” I share the same interest and passion for the wonderful truths of Scripture! How wonderful and loving of our Lord to have revealed to us the truth of His nature as well as ours. And even MORE loving how He provides THE solution (gospel) to our helpless situation. Glory be to God, our Savior and Lord! Jesus. Sis Nita.
One more post next time from Sis Nita in reply to this message.
As always feel free to comment and you have my permission to share with anyone.