What is God?

What is God?

Sounds ridiculous? Yet surprisingly, many of us may be misinformed about what the word God is. Some may be atheist and denies existence of God. Others are agnostics and still groping for the answer. Admittedly, others know who their God is, one way or another. But, do we really know what the word God is? This question is not about the attributes of God, viz., omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. Rather, it is about whether we comprehend what comprises or constitutes the word translated in English as God. Can this understanding help us in resolving the conflict between those who prove that Jesus is God and man versus those who has equally compelling proof that he is only human? Why did Jesus say in John 10:34 “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? The man Jesus classified himself as well as other human beings as gods, for which reason they accused him of blasphemy, stoned him and subsequently killed him because uof this outrageous claim. Is Jesus right in classifying humans as gods? Does it really matter, who we are and where in creation do we belong? We are not in the plant-kingdom nor are we in the animal-kingdom. Are we really in the god-kingdom as classified by Jesus for which claim, he was persecuted and eventually died? This issue maybe so basic, yet so fundamental that the answer maybe so eye-popping as to help us understand the future and destiny of man. As the Bible says, “the only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is…” Rom. 12:3(The Message, Colorado Springs, Navpress, 1993)

To know the facts, we need to get to the original word in Hebrew (for the Old testament portion of the Bible/Tanach) and Greek (for the New Testament) that was translated into the English word God. Anyone who has a comprehensive concordance will be able to compile all the original words translated as God. Afterwards, to know the truth behind those words, one then looks at the usage/context of how the original word was used and whether other text or verses can confirm the true meaning of the original word. Following this format of research, one may be surprised about discovering many things that we were taught as a child/adult may indeed be deficient and fall under the category of misinformation, not intentional mind you, but misleading and confusing, nevertheless. As we delve into this critical subject, we will know what comprises the word “God”, concepts of polytheism/monotheism, variations/levels of powers, and where is the rightful position of angels, man, sons of God, Christ and the Father. And from these, we will then appreciate the spiritual significance behind knowing this subject well, and the hierarchy of creation.

POLYTHEISM/MONOTHEISM :

At the outset, let us look at the concept of polytheism/monotheism and verses that may appear confusing yet may eventually help us in exploring this subject: The startling fact is that the Pentateuch introduces the concept of plurality of the word God.

Notice :

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.(Gen.1:1) Here, the word God translated from Hebrew is plural and this numerical concept is reiterated in (Gen.1:26) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness, …

But also, consider the following verses:

If after all, there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),( I Cor.8:5 )

God stands in the assembly of El ,in the midst of the gods he renders judgment (Ps. 82:1)

None can compare to you among the gods, O sovereign Master! Your exploits are incomparable! (Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O lord) (Ps. 86:8)

Yes, I know the Lord is great, and our sovereign Master is superior to all gods.

(YHVH is above all gods ) (Ps.135:5),

For you, O Lord, are the sovereign king over the whole earth; you are elevated high above all gods.(above all gods ) (Ps. 97:9)

You shall have no other gods before me (Ex.20:3 Decalogue)

You must burn the images of their gods,(graven images of their gods ) (Deut.7:25),

…on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment (many deities ) (Ex. 12:12)

For thou, LORD, [art] high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods (Ps. 97:9)

The preceding verses from the Old/New Testament tell us that, indeed, there are many gods, but a Supreme Being among them is above all of them.

Traditional Christianity denies the reality of many “gods”. But, there are indeed many “gods” and with different names. To Abraham, his name was El Shaddai and to Moses, YHVH (Yahweh/Jehovah). To Muslims, the name is Allah, to Chinese and Hindus there are many names, see;

http://www.names-surnames.com/gods/864-chinese-gods-list

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hindu_deities

Although, only one, I believe,should be worshipped and others not.

These verses affirm and did not deny the existence and reality of many gods. Polytheism is a fact in as much as there are many gods, and so is monotheism, in so far as there is One Supreme Being and One Above All gods is concerned. If in fact the preceding statement is true, and using this premise as a base, it then becomes imperative to get to the original word in Hebrew and Greek that was translated God . This will then help us understand what constitutes or comprises the word God, not only from the transliteration of the word, but also its context and usage

ELOHIM:

In Genesis, the Hebrew word translated God in English comes from the word ELOHIM/ELOHIYM. This is plural and a derivative of “El/Eloah(singular) meaning strong, mighty, power, POWERFUL ONES. (Brown,Driver,Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon, pp.42-44)

Likewise, in Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance, comes the following Hebrew words:

430 ‘elohiym el-o-heem’ plural of 433 ; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:–angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

433 ‘elowahh el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) >eloahh {el-o’-ah probably prolonged (emphat.) from 410; a deity or the Deity:–God, god. See 430.

426 ‘elahh el-aw’ (Aramaic) corresponding to 433; God:–God, god.

410 ‘el ale shortened from 352; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):–God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

Why is Elohiym plural ? Some think this is numerical plurality but others take this to mean multiplicity or majesty of powers, functions or rank

Which, if any, could it be?

In Gen. 1:26, “And ELOHIYM said, Let us ….our likeness…” suggest there were others of the same likeness or image during this creation narrative, hence Elohiym is a word that connotes numerical plurality , but also that a particular being (not beings) actually did the creation itself or spoke the word of creating, e.g., using he in

Gen.1:27 So ELOHIYM created man in his own image, in the image of ELOHIYM created he him; male and female created he them.

1:31 And ELOHIYM saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Gen. 2:2 And on the seventh day ELOHIYM ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

V-3 And ELOHIYM blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which ELOHIYM created and made.

V-8 And YHVH ELOHIYM planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

and using I in Gen.1:29 And ELOHIYM said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

V-30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

YHVH ELOHIYM:

The identity of this particular Elohiym, was specified as YHVH ELOHIYM in

Gen. 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that YHVH ELOHIYM made the earth and the heavens,

V-5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for YHVH ELOHIYM had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

V-7 And YHVH ELOHIYM formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

V-8 And YHVH ELOHIYM planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

V-9 And out of the ground made YHVH ELOHIYM to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

N.B. Also see chapters 3,4,5, etc. that specifies that the particular Elohiym was in fact YHVH.

YHVH is the creator in contradistinction to the other Elohiym, as in, Gen 6:2 sons of ELOHIYM. This specific and particular Elohiym is YHVH, who is the creator and the one who said “…Let us…our likeness ..” in Gen.1:26. This same person is the one who spoke to Moses and the one known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shadday. Notice the following:

Ex 6:2 And ELOHIYM spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am YHVH:

V-3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of EL SHADDAY, but by my name YHVH was I not known to them.

V-7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a ELOHIYM: and ye shall know that I am YHVH your ELOHIYM, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Deut 10:17 For YHVH your ELOHIYM is ELOHIYM of gods, and ADOWN of lords, a great EL, a mighty, …

Incidentally, the traditional English version of this was quoted in the prayer by Col. Oliver North who was a keynote speaker at the National Day of Prayer gathering at Washington, D.C. on May 6 2004

This is the Elohiym(God) of Israel, and specifically identified and named YHVH / El Shadday

This again is confirmed in the Shema doctrine found in

Deut.6:4 Hear, O Israel: YHVH our ELOHIYM is one YHVH:

V-5 And thou shalt love YHVH thy ELOHIYM with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Micah 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of YHVH our ELOHIYM for ever and ever.

Yes, there is no other specific Elohiym known and introduced to Israel to be worshipped but YHVH / El Shadday who is ONE. The One and ONLY ONE above all gods.

From the preceding, one can see that the plural word Elohiym is a generic or common name for a powerful being and that it includes the creator as well as others of like image or likeness. But to specify the identity of this particular Elohiym as a creator of heavens and earth and the being who dealt with Abraham, Isaac,Jacob,Moses and Israel , the proper name YHVH / El Shadday was used.

Angel as ELOHIM:

To confirm this concept that Elohiym/God is generic/common name, notice the following:

Worship him, all ye gods (430, elohiym)Ps.97:7 and juxtapose this with the reference…angels (32 aggelos {ang’-el-os} of God worship him in Heb 1:6

The elohiym/gods in Psalm 97:7 is definitely referred to mean aggelos/angels. See also the scene when Jesus told an angel (Satan) to worship him and speaking of himself towards Satan :

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matt.4:10

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.Lu. 4:8

And to identify which of the elohiym or angels is specifically referred to:

…. for Satan himself is transformed into an angel (32 aggelos {ang’-el-os} of light.

II Cor.11:14,

…prince of this world be cast out John 12:31

… god (2316 theos) of this world (Satan) II Cor 4:4.

See also Ps. 8:5 angel(elohim, Strong’s #43)

Yes, even angels are classified in the Elohiym/God. This could be the reason why “us” and “our” are used in Gen.1:26 as angels were there during man’s creation, as the “serpent” (Lucifer,Satan) was in the garden of Eden

Man, Jewish leaders, Judges as ELOHIM:

Following the same concept of commonality of the word Elohiym/God, notice these verses:

John 10:31 The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death.

V-32 Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?”

V-33 The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”

V-34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?

V-35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Ps.82:6 I have said, Ye are gods (430 elohiym); and all of you are children of the ELYOWN (God).

N.B. Children of Elohim/God are classified gods as well, as Jesus, the man, the son of God is God, as other humans who were stoning him are called gods as well. Jesus classified “…those people to whom the word of God came …as… ‘gods’ in v-35. The word of God came to humans, you and me, and not to plants nor to animals. That’s why we are gods ! See also, Ex. 21:6; 22:8-9,28 where judges are called elohim (Strong’s#430)

MOSES reckoned Elohiym:

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 ELOHIYM. See also, Ex. 7:1

Kings of the House of David likened to Gods:

Zech.12:8 In that day shall YHVH defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as ELOHIYM, as the angel of YHVH before them.

Yes, even men/women are classified in the Elohiym/God. Notice also that in Zech. 12:8 both man(house of David) and angel are classified as elohiym.

Again, looking at the facts and deducing the truth from the usage and context of the verses quoted, there is no doubt that Elohiym/God constitutes and comprises:

1.YHVH/El Shadday – the creator ,above all gods, one and only god to be worshipped by Israel , and by extension all gentiles.

2. angels(including Lucifer),

3.and man/woman

.

This specific and inclusive concept is not “pantheism”. It is not that “God is all and all is God” and not “all reality is infused with divinity”(Who made God? Ravi Zacharias,pgs.41-43,2003 Zondervan). Christ was specific and excludes plants, animals and innanimate beings. Distinction among the “gods” is maintained,i.e. there are levels and ranks of powers. Moreover,Elohiym is a word that connotes numerical plurality but may also mean multiplicity or majesty of powers, function or rank, as in Adonai in Gen 42:30,33, Isa. 22:18; 51:22; Ezra 10:3; Malachi 1:6

THEOS:

This same concept in the Old Testament is carried through in the New Testament. Notice, that in Greek, the word God is translated from “theos” This word is singular, masculine, and in the nominative case (The New Analytical Greek Lexicon ,p. 201)

And yet, THEOS , by context and usage, is a composite and includes:

1. God the Father: When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God(theos,Strong’s#2316), and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:1-3

2. God the Son/Jesus: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God(theos,Strong’s#2316), and the Word was fully God.(theos,Strong’s#2316) The Word was with God(theos,Strong’s#2316) in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.John 1:1-3;

She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God(theos,Strong’s#2316) with us.” Matt. 1:21-23

For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel Isa. 7:14

Isa.7:14 Therefore the ADONAY himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

3. angel:

among whom the god(theos,Strong’s#2316) of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. … theos,Strong’s#2316 of this world (Satan) II Cor 4:4

4. man/woman:

Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’(theos, Strong’s #2316) ? If those people to whom the word of God (theos,Strong’s #2316) came were called ‘gods’(theos, Strong’s #2316) (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’(theos,Strong’s #2316)? John 10:34-36

N.B. Jesus was human and was made in the image of the invisible God as we all are 2Cor 4:4. Jesus as man incarnate is God as He is also God in the pre-incarnate and post-incarnate state

The preceding verses show that “theos”, while singular, is a composite word as the plural “elohiym” is. Now comes the question, why is Elohiym plural but can be singular, while Theos is singular but maybe plural? This is because by usage/context the Elohiym/Theos maybe specific or generic. When the word is specific then it is described and identified, e.g. YHVH / El Shadday or Father, Son, angel, man.

This contextual usage is equivalent to the rendering of “ekklesia”(plural) as exemplified in:

I Cor. 12:12 For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ.

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church

CoL 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which (is) in his house.

1Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which (is) in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Tim. 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which (is) the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which (are) written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect

Notice that when the plural word is modified by a singular verb, it coalesces the plural into singular connotation. Ecclesia , while plural, is one but composed of many members; as our body is one, yet made up of many members. This usage is akin to the United States is one country but composed of many states; as Israel is one nation but with 12 tribes and with the grafting of the gentiles could be even more.

Summary:

1.Elohiym/Theos refers to a composite of powers, the sum of divine and powerful beings, the totality of all attributes of deity. It is a generic term that may apply to a particular being. When it does, the specific name of that Elohim is identified, as in YHVH Elohim

2. Most of the time, Elohiym in the Old Testament refers to a specific YHVH Elohiym and Theos in the New Testament refers specifically to God the Father. At other times, it refers to those others in the generic Elohiym/Theos, i.e. Jesus, angels, humans.

3. In general, Elohiym/Theos is collective and not a selective term; common and not a proper name; inclusive and not exclusive; generic not proprietary; composite and not specific.

4. The usage and/or context of the word explains the intended meaning, whether plural/singular or numerical plurality/multiplicity of power, rank or position/function.

5. The word God/Elohim, as originally written,, includes different species, levels, class or rank. At the highest level is the Father, followed by Son(s) of. God, then angelic rank, and the lowest is man. However, man will be transformed into “sons/children of God”, spirit-composed at resurrection and higher than angelic-class.

SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE:

Why know what the word “god” is ? Now that you know the facts and the truth behind the facts, the screaming spiritual significance of this truth can out-decibel anything ever heard of before! This has not been emphasized in traditional Christendom. Man is planned and classified by Jesus himself, to be categorized in the Elohiym. This classification of man in the Elohiym has far-reaching potential, seriousness and gravity that Jesus risked being stoned, charged with blasphemy and eventually gave his life for us to comprehend the magnitude of our destiny. Human beings are in the Elohiym/Theos, not in the plant-kind, nor in the animal-kind. We did not “evolve” from plants nor animals! In Genesis, you can see that after plants were created, they were planned to reproduce after their own kind. Likewise, when animals were created, they were to reproduce after their own kind. But, notice, after plants and animals were created to reproduce their own kind, God said, in Genesis,

1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness, .”

1:27 God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

Yes, humans are in the image of God, as Jesus the man, was in the image of the invisible God.( “… Christ, who is the image of God… 2 Cor 4:4) God is reproducing and multiplying the numbers that compose the Elohiym, aside from angelic beings. We are created in the Elohiym/Theos. We are in the GOD-KIND ,the God-Kingdom ! This is the context of the gospel of the Kingdom Of God. Kingdom of “man” was not planed. In fact, all human kingdoms from the Tower of Babel through the succession of human kingdoms represented by the ” image of Nebuchadnezzar”, will all perish. While in the class of Elohiym, as man ,like Jesus was, we are currently below the level and rank of angels(see Heb. 2:7) But as Jesus is now in the right hand of the Father as “Son of God”, our High-Priest, man will also be in that position, higher than the angels(Heb. 1:4; 2:10), as we will be in Christ, as “Son of God”, who will bring ” many sons to glory”. The head, who is Christ, has to be with the body, which is the ecclesia, composed of many members. When this kingdom of God, the ecclesia, the priests of Melchizedek are finally composed and is delivered to the Father, then all of us, including Jesus, will bow down before the supreme God of all…the Father, as in:

And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all. 1 Cor.15:28

Thank God, this human destiny was decided even before man’s creation, and before man has done anything right or wrong. Being in that category or class of Elohiym is a gift, not of works, but of grace through faith and out of the love of God.

Brethren, the spiritual meaning of this concept that man is in the class of Elohiym is of enormous significance worthy of praise and glory of the Father. For centuries, we were distracted from this concept and now, through the blessing of the Spirit, the time has come for all of us to see our direction and destiny.

Complementary Articles:

Destiny of Man, Deification of Man, Passion of Christ

CONTACT:

For any questions, comments, or article contribution for publication, please e-mail foundationacts@yahoo.com

Original Post : June 17, 2004

Revised: June 29,2014

Reposted: September 15,2018

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