Many theologians as well as preachers in the Churches of Christ believe that the plural ending of the noun Elohim point to a plurality of persons. The plural form Elohim (singular form is El or Eloah) is used by many to support the Trinity or three persons in the Godhead. Pero saganang akin, malabo po ito. Ipaliwanag natin.
Earlier I wrote an article by presenting Psalms 45:1-7. May I repeat it by quoting from the NKJV. In verse 2a we read, “Therefore God (Elohim) has blessed You forever.” Is there a plurality of persons in the one who blesses the “You”? And then in verse 6a it says, “Your throne, O God (Elohim), is forever and ever.” Connected with Hebrews 1:8 we, in the Church of Christ, take the position that the God (Elohim) is the Father who addresses God (Elohim) who is the Son. Maliwanag dito na may dalawang nababasang Elohim. If the first Elohim is plural in person, then there are at least two persons in the Elohim who is the Father. If the second Elohim is plural in person and that refers to the Son, then there are at least two persons in the Son. That makes at least 4 persons. But our position is that the Father is one person and the Son is one person also. Based on this counting, make your addition. Please don’t use your multiplication or division mathematical operations because you would be wrong.
I was confronted 30 years ago when I brought out this analysis in a lectureship. The brother who confronted me insisted that Elohim contains a plurality of persons and supports the doctrine of the Trinity. I told him to study Psalm 45 and come back to me if he is ready to overcome the logic of my argument. He hasn’t come back to discuss the issue.
GODDESS ASHTORETH IS CALLED ELOHIM
This time I present another angle about Elohim. The Hebrew word Elohim is a generic term for deity. Just as the Greek term theos is generic. The English word “God” is also a generic term for any deity. It may refer to the true God, to idols, to false gods, goddess, goddesses, objects of worship that may be a tree, a rock, a mountain, a lion, a snake, a judge, a king. This is recognized by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6. “For even if there are so-called gods (theoi in the Greek Bible), whether in heaven or on earth, (as there are many gods (theoi in the Greek Bible) and many lords.” (v.5) One may argue that in English the true God has capital G while the false have small letter g. This argument holds no water. Capitalization of the perceived God of the Christian world was agreed upon by grammarians and not by theologians. In the Greek Bible, true God or false God, both are small letters in the minuscule manuscripts and both are capitalized in the majuscule manuscripts. If Elohim is intrinsically plural in person, why are Bible translators in all languages afraid to put the plural form in their translations? If Elohim means plurality in person, Gods should also mean plurality in persons. Why are Bible translators afraid to add the letter s in English, while the Hebrews are not afraid to give the plural ultima? Why?
The Hebrew word “Elohim” which is translated “God” in the English Bible refers to “God, gods, objects of worship” says Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible, page 412. How could idols possess plurality of persons if idols are non-persons? How could a god or a goddess be plural in person if a god or a goddess is a non-person? How could a material object like a tree, a rock sculptured like a lion be plural in persons when these are non-persons in the first place? Why is an individual person if recognized as a magistrate or a king addressed as “Elohim” and yet he doesn’t possess a plurality of persons?
Please observe very closely the following passages:
“For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess (Elohim) of the Sidonian…” (1 Kings 11:5)
Also notice this passage: “…they have forsaken Me, and worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess (Elohim) of the Sidonians…” v. 33 Can anyone document a research paper to show that the Sidonians thought of their goddess Ashtoreth as composed of a plurality of persons? I’ve read articles about this deity but haven’t come across any idea of plurality of persons although she’s called Elohim. Since Elohim is in the Hebrew original Bible in verses 5 & 33, why are Bible translators of the NKJV and other versions I’ve read afraid to put a plural form of their translations if indeed the term Elohim teaches a plurality of persons?
CHEMOSH OF THE MOABITES IS CALLED ELOHIM
“…Chemosh the god (Elohim) of the Moabites…” (1 Kings 11:33b). I’ve not come across any literature that tell us that the Moabites taught a trinity of persons in their deity. I would appreciate anyone who could bring out a documented Trinitarian belief of the Moabites. Since Elohim is in the Hebrew original Bible in verse 33, why are Bible translators of the NKJV and other versions I’ve read afraid to put a plural form of their translations if indeed the term Elohim teaches a plurality of persons?
MILCOM OF THE AMMONITES IS CALLED ELOHIM
“…AND Milcom the god (Elohim) of the people of Ammon…” (1 Kings 11:33c) I’ve read many articles about Milcom of the Ammonites, but there is no information about a Trinitarian belief on their deity. If anyone could bring out a documented research an Ammonite Trinitarian belief that I would like to see.
NAMES IN THE PLURAL FORM
There are many names that have plural endings but the beings wearing these names don’t have plurality of persons in their being. The family name Torres is plural; its singular form is Torre. Congresswoman Lucy Torres of Ormoc City, wife of Richard Gomez, is one individual being and is one person although her name is in the plural form. Eugene Torre, the first Filipino chess grandmaster, has the singular form in his name. He is an individual being and is one person.
Simon Reyes is an individual being and is one person although the ending of his name is plural. Rey Tam, a noted boxer in the Cordilleras of yesteryears has the singular form in his name. He is one individual and is one person.
Erastus Fuentes is a being and is one person although the form of his name is plural. In Cebu City there is a place called Fuente Osmena. It is understood to be singular.
The better explanation of the plural form of Elohim in relation to a belief in monotheism is the so-called “plurality of majesty.” Some teachers take the position that the word Elohim is a mass noun. This, too, is not a good explanation. We’ll deal with this position in a later date.
Comments and observations are most welcomed. # (Eusebio Tanicala, December 2010)