Advancing the Revelation of Truth

 

OUR GOD, WHOSE NAME IS ELOHIM, IS NOT AN ET

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Text Box: Meanings of words in the God breathed Hebrew Scripture are established by their contexts, not by dictionaries.

 

Claims that the Christian Bible supports the notion that mankind was and is the result of a project to bio-engineer an improved version of a particular kind of lower primate by tinkering with its DNA need to be answered. That the Bible does not give this support is evident upon careful consideration of the facts. 

It is said that the project, referred to above, was set up and organised by "ET", a.k.a. "the gods" of earlier times, "the ancient astronauts", etc., etc. It is a theme well known amongst those UFO investigators who also concern themselves with the study of mankindís origins. 

The claim of Biblical support for this idea is based simply upon the interpretation of the meaning of the name      ELOHIM. As this is a noun of plural form, it is said that it must therefore apply to a group of beings, not one alone. 


There follows a rebuttal of this idea, and an explanation of why this Hebrew plural noun is used of the One True God.

 

The Meaning of ELOHIM   [Part 1]

M.W.J.Phelan

 INTRODUCTION (in part)

AIM In December 1995 I received a private communication from a friend and fellow-believer. My friend and I were at the time both members of a small, informal, but nation-wide independent Scriptural Study Group, and have many common interests. One of these is the current fascination many people feel for UFOs and Extra-Terrestrials.

My friend wished to counter a theory advocated by some in UFO circles, which suggests that the original Hebrew of that part of Genesis 1 which deals with the creation of man, implies that man was created by a plurality of beings referred to in the Hebrew by the plural noun Elohim, which is the regular Hebrew word for God.

These beings are held to have belonged to an Alien civilisation of unspecified age and location. I had produced a booklet on the Godhead published by The Open Bible Trust entitled, "The Fulness Of The Godhead" a few years earlier, in which I had made a study of the scriptural usage of Elohim.

Knowing this, my friend asked me to prepare some material for use in his arguments against the erroneous theory mentioned above. My response to my friend's request forms the basis of this paper, but may also be of interest to those concerned about Unitarian views of the Godhead, as the aim of this paper is now, not so much that of countering the Ufologist's argument specifically, as much as achieving a general understanding of what the Scriptures reveal to us about the nature of our God by the use of pluralism of language.

I wish it to be known that I am associated with no recognised religious body whatsoever, and therefore have no theological axe to grind. I am an Independent Believer in the Word of God, and while I am familiar with the beliefs of many religious organisations, I subscribe to none. If my views seem to offer support to some doctrines recognised as being affiliated with a particular group, theological alignment with that group must not be inferred. I seek only the Truth, not accolades from any human organisation. The pursuit of Truth is the loneliest occupation in the world, but I have left behind the expectation of becoming popular through such a quest.

While it is inevitable in a paper such as this, that appeal be made to works generally recognised as being authoritative, it is my intention only to recognise the actual words of the Scriptures as being of Ultimate, and Binding Authority. I intend honestly to accept them as they are in the text; and to acknowledge only what the words themselves say, rather than to support a theological presupposition by explaining away an obvious meaning or a grammatical fact.

I also believe it is crucial to understand the limitations of our knowledge, which is at present imperfect. Because of this, I intend also to accept honestly any difficulties where they genuinely exist, and to make it clear to the reader, what is opinion, and what is fact. It is the responsibility of the reader to decide whether or not I have been successful in this.  

ELOHIM

This normal and regular Hebrew word for 'God', is the plural form of 'Eloah'. The singular is restricted to poetry, and the later Hebrew writings.

The plural, by contrast, is widely used. It is used;

1.  Of pagan deities, either generally, or in particular . . . (including being used of a goddess!)

2   Of human judges

3   Of Moses in his relation to Pharaoh

4   In poetry, of angels;

5   Of ghosts or supernatural beings

6  However, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is used as the normal and regular designation, or title (rather than Name) of the One True God, being used in this way in approximately 2,300 occasions. In 75% of the occurrences of the word 'God' in the English translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the original is Elohim

CONCLUSION:     In almost 99% of its occurrences, Elohim is used to designate the One True God. Thus, if it is asserted that we are compelled to adopt a different meaning at a given occurrence of the word, the onus of providing evidence lies with the one who makes such a claim, as it would be contrary to its ordinary, regular usage, which, in the absence of contrary evidence, ought to be assumed.

ELOHIM AND YHWH. Elohim is found in conjunction with what theologians refer to as the Tetragrammaton, or, 'The Four Letters'. These letters are, when transliterated into English, YHWH. This is a Name of the One True God, of Whom Elohim is a title.

When Elohim is used in conjunction with YHWH, the result is a joining of two nouns, as all names and titles are, by definition, nouns. When two nouns are juxtaposed, they are said to be in 'apposition', and, necessarily, and inevitably, certain rules of grammar govern their use.

When two nouns are in 'apposition', one of them becomes an adjective, and describes, or qualifies, the other noun. 'Gold' is a noun, as is 'ring'. Place both nouns in apposition as 'gold ring' and this process may be observed. The word 'ring' is still a noun, but the word 'gold' has become an adjective. It now describes, or, qualifies the ring, telling us it is 'golden'. Other examples would be 'oak' and 'tree' in apposition as 'oak tree', and 'papyrus' and 'scroll', in apposition as 'papyrus scroll'.

Now in Hebrew, the adjective which defines an attribute always comes after the noun. Thus when YHWH and Elohim come together as 'YHWH Elohim', it is the second noun, Elohim, that becomes the adjective, and defines the Quality of YHWH. Elohim describes YHWH as being 'Divine'.

Thus, as in English the adjective comes before the noun, the true translation of 'YHWH Elohim' is 'Divine YHWH', and not 'YHWH God', which could be thought to imply, as ufologists would quickly point out, that YHWH is but one member of a pantheon of gods. It could be argued that such a rendering implies the existence of True Elohim other than YHWH. Using the rendering 'Divine YHWH' which is consistent with Hebrew usage makes it that much more difficult to argue in this way.

This may seem hair-splitting, but the importance is that the expression 'YHWH-God' while advocated by some modern translations is totally opposed to Hebrew usage. Presenting only the correct translation is vital, because it reveals the fact that even when Elohim is used in conjunction with the Sacred Name, the Uniqueness, and solitariness of the True God is not compromised, which, otherwise, could easily be argued.

 END OF EXTRACT.

The above shows only a small part of the information contained in the paper regarding the meaning of this name of the one true God. In this time of rapidly increasing ignorance of the Christian Scriptures, information such as that contained in this paper is vital to the stand Paul desires us to make.                                                               

M.W.J. Phelan

Written during November 1998, and revised in the following January, entitled "The One True God and the Pluralism of Language."   The whole paper contains thirty-nine A4 pages, obviously too long to be published conveniently in this manner.  The full paper, with exhaustive references and Hebrew text included, may be read at the following   address: 

http://christianindividual.me.uk 

 

 

 

Text Box: Davidson, A. B.         The Theology Of The Old Testament, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1904.
Gesenius, H. W. F.    Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1984.
Kautzsch, E.F. Editor of Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament .
Cowley, A.E. Translator of Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament

 

 

 

 

 

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