Names of God; part 42. Elohim - our God the Highest, all powerful Creator.

Class Outline:

Title: Names of God; part 42. Elohim - our God the Highest, all powerful Creator.


We now turn to the use of the name Elohim.


Elohim: occurring over 2500 times, it is the plural of Eloah of the root El which was used for "God" all throughout the Semitic world (Babylonian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew). Elohim is only used in Hebrew.


Some believe that the plural is used to denote unlimited greatness as in a plural of attributes and power. Others believe that it is a plural of majesty as in King of kings. The original belief, which has been held by most conservative members of the church is that the plural is used due to the existence of the three members of the Trinity, which are three persons in one God. The other theories are human inventions without Biblical proof or evidence, and so there is no reason to depart from the standard interpretation.


Elohim is plural due to the fact that the Trinity is three persons in one Godhead.


This name, only used in Hebrew, leads the believer into the doctrine of the Trinity.


The meaning of the word can be traced to a root word which means "The Strong One" or to a root that means "fear" and thus the essential idea of reverence springs from the name: fear of the Strong One. The reality of the matter is that the derivation of the name El or Elohim is unclear. Though it is true that God is all powerful and is to be feared and revered, we don't know for sure if these are the derivation of this name.


The Bible opens with "Elohim."


GEN 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


The Hebrew names for the books of the Bible are often based upon the first or second word of the book itself, and the Book of Genesis follows this pattern. The Hebrew name for this book is Bereisheet - "in the beginning."


Baresheet baraa Elohim (beh-re-sheet barah Elohim).


What greater display of power and authority could there be? This is how God introduces Himself to the world - I am the Creator of everything and so am Myself, uncreated.


There are many interpretations to GEN 1:1-3 and the one that makes the most sense is the Gap Theory in which verse 1 is an independent clause concerning God's creation of the universe and the earth within it, out of nothing.


"created" - bara: only used of God and only the work that God can do. It is never used with anything that man does.


There are several words in the Hebrew Bible that are only of God, and this is one of them.


The universe was created out of nothing. This power is only possessed by God. He exercised it when He made you and me new creatures in Christ.


ROM 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,


ROM 4:17 (as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.


HEB 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


HEB 11:2 For by it the men of old gained approval.


HEB 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.


GEN 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


God does not at all explain His existence. His existence is assumed to be true.


Elohim, being plural, does not itself prove the plurality of the Godhead, and less so does it prove the Trinity, but it clearly opens the door to the plurality of the Godhead.


Based on what God is able to do in GEN 1:1, two things are revealed about God. God is self-sufficient. There is no need for anyone else to do anything. Some believe that God created man because He needed fellowship. God does not need anything. Secondly, God is eternal and unchangeable.


"In the beginning Elohim" is the foundation of all theology. God is unknowable except where He chooses to reveal Himself, and He is answerable to no one.


GEN 1:2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.


Verse two begins a new subject. There are some grammatical issues here in which the translation could be "Now the earth" instead of "And the earth." Without spending too much time on details, which are not currently our subject, I will reiterate that we are going with the Gap Theory and as such verse 2 is not a continuation of verse 1, but a background to verse 3 and that between verses 2 and 3 there is a gap in which the fall of Satan caused the chaos of verse 2, which a result of divine judgment.


As a side note, there is no need to make the gap between GEN 1:1-2 to be millions of years in order to accommodate dinosaurs or scientific geology. The Bible clearly states that there was no physical death of any kind until the fall of Adam. We never have to make the Biblical record agree with scientific "theories." There is plenty of time of dinosaurs and ice ages outside of the gap. The gap may not have been very long at all. It is only to allow for the fall of Satan.


Elohim, the all powerful One, was not tripped up for a moment by the monumental fall of Satan. He had a plan all along that centered upon the earth.


The verb "was" can also be translated "became" but that translation is not without question. There are several instances in Genesis where the Hebrew word hayetah is translated "became."


This harmonizes with:


ISA 45:18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens

(He is the God who formed the earth and made it,

He established it and did not create it a waste place,

But formed it to be inhabited),

"I am the Lord, and there is none else.


That would mean that whatever happened in GEN 1:2 became that way, for God did not create it a waste place.


GEN 1:2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.


"formless and void" is used two other times in the Bible and in both places it speaks of divine judgment. (ISA 34:11 and JER 4:23).


This means that GEN 1:2 is not a good thing.


In language we often use two words together to denote some unique concept. In verse one, the heavens and the earth emphasizes the totality of an ordered universe, and in verse 2, formless and void focuses on judgment and chaos.


Elohim allowed His heavens and earth to become that which was needing judgment with the result that chaos would overrun it. He would also allow men's souls to descend into this as well. But always, the all powerful Creator has a plan. There is no darkness too thick or depth too deep that God cannot overcome.


Added to this is darkness and the deep.


Darkness is a symbol of divine judgment throughout the Bible. Deep refers to the "salty deep" in which the earth was judged by covering it with a vast ocean.


In Eze 28 we find unfallen Satan walking amongst a beautiful mineral garden. We might assume that there was no ocean for none is mentioned. We know from Rev 22-22 that the new earth will not have an ocean. This may be the original condition of the earth. In recent events we have been reminded of the devastation that the ocean can create in the southern US and also in southern Asia where 1,200 are reported killed and millions are homeless.


GEN 1:2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.


The Spirit hovers over the judged earth like a mother bird caring for her young, which is just how the word is used in DEU 32:11.


DEU 32:9 "For the Lord's portion is His people;

Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.


DEU 32:10 "He found him in a desert land,

And in the howling waste of a wilderness;

He encircled him, He cared for him,

He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.


DEU 32:11 "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

That hovers over its young,

He spread His wings and caught them,

He carried them on His pinions.


It is clear that the Holy Spirit is actively involved in creation, which further opens the door to the plurality of the Godhead in the plural name Elohim.


Verse 2 serves as an introduction to the six days of creation. Elohim will rectify the problem of verse 2 with His word, "Let there be…"


The first three days rectify the problem of being without form. They are days of division: light and darkness on the first day; air and water on the second; and land and plants on the third. This rectifies the problem of formlessness.


The second three days rectified the problem of being empty. These are three days of decoration: lights in the sky on the fourth day to adorn the day and night of the first day; foul and fish on the fifth day to adorn the air and water of the second day; and animals and man on the sixth day to occupy the land and the plants of the third day.


So we find in creation that Elohim contains parallelism and symmetry.


All came into being because Elohim spoke. This reveals the power of His word.


PSA 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

And by the breath of His mouth all their host.


Yavah is the name used. Elohim and Yavah are often interchangeable.


PSA 33:7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;

He lays up the deeps in storehouses.


PSA 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;

Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.


PSA 33:9 For He spoke, and it was done;

He commanded, and it stood fast.


GEN 1:3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.


This light is distinct from the light of the sun, which would not be created until the fourth day. God is not specific in telling us exactly what this light is, but in reference to other scriptures, a good bet is that it is the Shechinah glory.


2CO 4:6

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.


"Let there be" is one Hebrew word and "there was" is also one Hebrew word. They are both related to God's name Yavah which stems from the description, I am that which I am.