Why did Jesus call the Father “my God”?

The crux of the question lies on what one understands about the word “God”. This English word is a translation of the Hebrew word “elohim” and the Greek word “theos”.

The original word, has no capital letter. Moreover, the original Hebrew word “elohim” translated to English word “god” is “generic” and not proprietary nor specific. The generic term Elohim refers to the true “God” (2507x), as well as to “gods,” “goddesses,” and things divine or mighty. In total, it occurs 2602 times in the Hebrew bible (Tanach). The word is used for: the true God, false gods, supernatural spirits (angels), and human leaders, viz., kings, judges. The word “god” is used for individual false gods and one goddess — such as Dagon, Chemosh, Baal, Ashtoreth — (1 Sam 5:7; 1 Kgs 11:33; 18:24; 1 Kgs 11:5).

How then can one be certain about what the writer means? Looking at the context and usage, the writer actually identifies which one is referred to, specifically. Read the following:

Gen. 2:4 “… in the day that the LORD God (YHVH Elohim) made the earth and the heavens,”. The generic word “elohim” in Genesis 1 has been further specifically identified as “YHVH Elohim” or “Lord God” in Genesis 2.

“I am YHVH your Elohim . . . you shall have no other elohim in my presence” (Ex. 20:2-3). The translator started with capital letter “E” for “Elohim” and small letter “g” for “other elohim” rendered “other gods” to indicate “false gods” instead of “other God”? Also, “GOD of gods” or literally, “ELOHIM of elohim” (Deut 10:17; Ps 136:2) refer to the supreme or true god. Moreover, YHVH is translated in the Old Testament as “LORD” in English as in the New Testament: Rev. 19:16 “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords”.(NIV). Rightly so, as the Creator God, the YHVH ELOHIM is also the LOGOS in John 1:1 that incarnated to man-Jesus (anthropos-Jesus, according to Paul).

Ps. 136:2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.(NIV)

He is “one” (echad) as in Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (SHEMA doctrine of the Jews). This is the true God to be worshipped and not any of the various “false gods” referred to at that time. In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint), where elohim refers to the true God, the singular theos is used.
Genesis 1:1 Hebrew — “In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 Greek — “In the beginning, Theos made the heavens and the earth”.

Human Elohim/elohim:
Ex. 7:1 “And the LORD(YHVH) said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (elohim) to Pharaoh:…”. Moses is elohim to pharaoh because he stands as God’s representative in the court of Egypt

Ex. 4:16 “And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of Elohim (God)”. . Moses is also elohim to his brother Aaron (Exod 4:16), i.e. in God’s place of authority.

The shoftim (governor-judges) of ancient Israel are “elohim”, because they dispense God’s judgments, as in:
“Then his master [adonim] shall bring him to the judges” [elohim]. (Exod 21:6)
“The owner of the house shall appear before the judges” [elohim]. (Ex. 22:8)
“He whom the judges [elohim] condemn shall pay double to his neighbor”. Ex. 22::9)
“You shall not curse the judge [elohim], nor curse a ruler [nasi] of your people.” (Ex. 22::28)

Most importantly, Jesus himself called those Jews “don’t you know that you are gods?”(Ps. 82:6 and John 10:34-35).

The New Testament (which is in the same Koiné Greek as the Septuagint) is specific as to which “god” is referred to. It does not have different words for or spellings of “God”. That is, no singular or plural forms of “theos”. When the NT quotes passages from the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Septuagint that contain the word “God,” it always has the singular noun.

Typically, the word theos distinguishes the Father from Yeshua, his son, as in:
“There is one God, the Father . . . and one Lord, Yeshua Messiah” (1 Cor 8:6). “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua” (1 Tim 2:5). The “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” or “God of our fathers” is the Father of Yeshua they have in mind (Acts 3:13; 5:30).

A few times, Yeshua is called “God” (John 1:1; 20:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1, etc.). But these verses must be viewed within the overall patterns and message of the New Testament in which Yeshua, as God’s Son, Lord, and Messiah, is the Father’s representative embodiment. He is “God” because he is God’s image (Col 1:15; 1 Cor 11:7). And God’s “image” is his Son (as it was on a smaller scale with Adam: Gen 1:26; Luke 3:38, “Adam, the son of God”; 1 Cor 11:7

Had this concept of “god” been understood by Athanasius and Arius, could there have been unity instead of a split of the Christian Church in the 4th century?

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