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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

Elohim (God) is Plural in Genesis 1:1?
“In the beginning, Gods created the heavens and the earth?”

(Read the PDF File for the Complete Article.)

“In the beginning God [Elohim, plural] created [bara, singular] the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “Heb.: elohim, It should be carefully observed that is plural in form, yet when, as here, it it construed with a verb in the singular, it is naturally singular in sense; especially since the “plural of quality” or “excellence” abounds in Hebrew in cases where the reference is undeniably to something which must be understood in the singular number.” (Joseph Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, footnote b.)

Example of a singular noun and a singular verb: I am proud.

Example of a plural noun and a plural verb: We are proud.

Example of a plural noun with a singular verb: We am proud. This is Genesis 1:1; plural noun, Elohim, with a singular verb, bara.

Blue Letter Bible

Created, in Genesis 1:1, is the Hebrew word, ‘bara’ (1254) which is a Verb (Speech), Qal (Stem), Perfect (State), Third Person (Person), Masculine (Gender), Singular (Number).

Hebrew for the Rest of Us

“Honorific Plural. “The plural in Hebrew can be used to indicate majesty or some kind of intensive idea. Numerous examples exist, especially terms for God, but also terms for humans. For example, in Isaiah 1:3, “the trough of its master,’ the word for “its master,” is a grammatical plural, “its masters,” but refers to one master…

The common word for God in the OT is Elohim. It is clear that the ending on this noun is masculine plural. Many Christians from the second century onward have argued that the plural form proves the doctrine of the Trinity.

Number, however, is a grammatical quality. We must still interpret its function. When Elohim is used in passages referring to the one creator God, Jews and Christians are agreed that, since Scripture clearly teaches against polytheism, this is not a numeric plural. Nor is it an abstract. This is an example of an honorific plural, or the so-called, “plural of majesty.” This is even more clear when the verbs used with Elohim are verbs used with a singular subject. This conclusion rules out the possibility that the form Elohim teaches the Trinity simply because it is grammatically plural.

Arguments for the Trinity must be made on bases other than the fact that Elohim is a grammatical plural form. Responsible Bible students and teachers never take a shortcut by using inappropriate evidence to get to a desired conclusion, even if the conclusion is correct.” (Hebrew for the Rest of Us, Lee M. Fields, pg. 103 and 105) An example of confirmation bias, concerning Elohim being a Trinity, is presented below by Adam Clarke who died in 1832.

(Read the PDF File for the Complete Article.)






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