The Triune God in the Old Testament
If the Hebrew Scriptures do indicate the possibility of multiplicity, then the question naturally arises – how many persons ultimately exist in the Godhead? Studying the Hebrew Scriptures, we find that, in the end, only three particular Persons were considered divine.
The name Elohim
Elohim is generally considered to be a plural noun ending in the masculine gender “-im”. The word Elohim itself is used of the true God in Genesis 1: 1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, and in Exodus 20: 3 – “thou shalt have no other gods before me” and in Deuteronomy 13: 2 – ” … Will follow other gods (elohim)… “Despite the use of the plural“ Elohim ”we cannot prove the trinity of God, but this at least opens the door to the doctrine of multiplicity in the Godhead, as this word is used to denote both the true God, so also for the many false gods in Old Testament times.
Plural verbs used with “Elohim”
In fact, all Hebrew scholars recognize that the word Elohim, taken separately, means a plural noun. But many deny that this allows for any multiplicity in the Godhead. This view is based on the following reasoning: when “Elohim” is used in a conversation about the true God, it is followed by a singular verb. When it comes to false gods, it is always followed by a plural of the verb. Rabbi Greenberg of the Sinai Synagogue in Philadelphia, USA, affirms this idea as follows (quoted in Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Judaism and the Trinity, 1987 – ISSUES, vol. 1: 8, 1978): “In essence, the used in the opening verse of Genesis, the verb “bar” – which means “he created” – is in the singular. It does not take a thorough knowledge of Hebrew to make it clear that the opening verse of Genesis speaks clearly of God in the singular. ”
This statement is, in principle, correct because the Bible teaches that God is the only God, and therefore the general model is a plural noun combined with a singular verb when it comes to the true God. There are many places where this word is used to indicate the true God in combination with the plural of the verb:
Genesis 20:13 – “God (Elohim) led me on a journey (literal translation: They led me on a journey) through the house of my Father…”
Genesis 35: 7 – “And here God (Elohim) appeared to him” (literal translation: they appeared to him)
2 Kings. 7:23 – “God (Elohim) came” (literal translation: they were coming)
Ps. 57:12 – “verily He is the God who judges” (literal translation: they judge)
The name is Eloah
Is the use of the plural form Elohim in the mention of the true God and the false gods by the authors of the Old Testament scriptures simply due to the lack of another alternative. However, there is only one form of Elohim – Eloah, which is used, for example, in the Book of Habakkuk 3: 3 and Deuteronomy 32: 15-17. It has been used 250 times, while the plural form is more preferred and has been used 2500 times, which can be argued in favor of God’s multiplicity.
The following argument from Hebrew grammar is that God often speaks of Himself, clearly using a plural pronoun:
Genesis 1:26 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
It is unlikely that God addresses the angels, since man was created in the image of God and not in the image of angels. Midrash Rabba acknowledges the power of this place and comments on it as follows:
Rabbi Samuel bar Hanman, on behalf of Rabbi Jonathan, says that at the time Moses wrote the Torah, reaching this verse that reads, “And Elohim said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” Moses asked: “Lord Almighty, why do you give an excuse to the sectarians (believers in the Trinity of God)?” And God answered Moses, “You write, and whoever wants to be deceived, let him be deceived” (cf. Midrash Rabba on Genesis 1:26, New York, NOP Press, N.D.). Obviously we have an attempt to circumvent the delicate question of why God speaks of Himself in the plural. And we have such problematic places in the Old Testament scriptures in:
Genesis 3:22 – “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us.”
Genesis 11: 7 – “Let us go down and mix their tongues.”
Isaiah 6: 8 – “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us? ”
It is clear from the last passage that the single “I” is equivalent to the plural “We”, therefore the opposite statement would also be true.
Multiple descriptions of God
Another aspect based on the linguistic analysis of the ancient Hebrew original is the fact that often the nouns and adjectives used to describe God are plural, as evidenced by the following few examples:
Ecclesiastes 12: 1 – “Remember thy Creator” (literal translation: creators)
Ps. 149: 2 – “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker” (literal translation: creators)
Joshua 24:19 – “God is holy” (literal translation: Holy Gods)
Is. 54: 5 – “For the Creator is your husband” (literal translation: creators, spouses)
Therefore, on the one hand, the scriptures affirm the unity of God, and on the other, they lead us to the concept of a complex unity that allows for multiplicity in God.
Deuteronomy 6: 4 eng. dr.-evr.
Your God, | Elohen
is one!” | ехад
This verse is known as “Sh’ma” and has always been Israel’s greatest religion. It is this verse that is used more than any other to confirm the fact of the unity of God and, most often, to oppose the position of multiplicity in the Godhead. Is it sufficiently justified, however?
On the one hand, it should be noted that the words “your God” in the Hebrew original mean “your gods.” The main argument for us is contained in the word “ehad” = from another Hebrew. “One”. A review of all the Hebrew texts shows that the word “ehad” does not mean absolute unity, but a compound one. For example, in Genesis 1: 5, the combination of evening and morning includes one (ehad) day. This day is translated as “day one” and not with the ordinal number “day one”. This first day to some extent contains all the other days, because the creative process of creation is not over. In Genesis 2:24, a man and a woman united in marriage “become one flesh.” Ezra 2:64 states that the whole society became “one” (ehad), even though it was made up of many people. Ezekiel 37:17 gives us an extremely impressive example when the two scepters merge to become one (ehad). Thus, the use of the word “ehad” in the scriptures shows that it is a composite, not an absolute, unity.
On the other hand, there is a Hebrew word meaning absolute unity. This is the “Yahid” we find in many passages in the Scriptures, where the emphasis is on the meaning of “one.” If Moses intended to point to absolute unity with God, he could choose the most appropriate word for it. Maimonides, taking into account the power of the word “Yahid”, used it in compiling his “Thirteen Foundations of Faith” instead of the word “Ehad”. However, Deuteronomy 6: 4 does not use “Yahid” but “Ehad.”
God is at least Two
(The words Elohim and Yahweh are used to denote at least two persons)
To illustrate the plurality even more clearly, the Hebrew Scriptures cite situations in which the word “Elohim” occurs to denote two persons in the same verse. One such example is Psalm 44: 7-8: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever; the scepter of righteousness – the scepter of Your kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore, O God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. ”
We must note that the address is to the first Elohim, and to the second Elohim – this is the God of the second Elohim; therefore, the God of God has anointed Him with the oil of joy.
Another example is Hosea 1: 7: “And I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them in their Lord God; I will save them not with bow, nor with sword, nor with war, nor with horses, nor with horsemen.”
It was Elohim who said that He would have mercy on the house of Judah and save them with the help of Yahweh; so Elohim number one saves Israel through Elohim number two.
But not only is the Elohim used to refer to two persons in the same verse, but this is also seen in the use of the very name of God. An example of the above is Genesis 19:24: “And the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD in heaven.”
As in Zechariah 2: 8-9, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; For glory hath he sent me unto the people which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. Behold, I lift up my hand against them, and they shall be the prey of their servants; and then shall ye know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
And here we see one Yahweh sending another Yahweh to perform a specific task (the personal name of the God of Israel is recorded in the Hebrew Bible with four consonants – YHVH = Yahweh. Pronouncing the same is avoided from the 3rd century BC; originally replaced with “Adonai” (our Lord) and later with “ha-Shem” (the Name). 593). The name Jehovah is a hybrid misreading of the original sacred tetragram with the vowels of Adonai, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Judaica, col. 593).
God is a Trinity
If the Hebrew Scriptures do indicate the possibility of multiplicity, then the question naturally arises – how many persons ultimately exist in the Godhead? We have already seen God’s name applied to at least two persons. Studying the Hebrew Scriptures, we find that, in the end, only three particular Persons were considered divine.
First, in many cases when it comes to the Lord Yahweh. This use is so common that it does not even need to be cited.
The second person in question is the Angel of Yahweh. This person has always been considered unique and different from other angels. In almost every passage where we find him, he is spoken of as the Angel of Yahweh and Yahweh Himself. For example, in Genesis 22:11 he is an angel of Yahweh, but in verse 22:12 he is God. An extremely interesting passage is Exodus 23: 20-23, where this angel has the power to forgive sins, as Yahweh’s own name is contained in him, which implies that unconditional obedience is given to Him. There can be no question of an ordinary angel.
The presence of God’s own name applies to this angel, indicating his divine status.
The third main person is the Spirit of God, often called Ruach Ha-Kodesh. There are many references to the Spirit of God in passages from Genesis 1: 2, 6: 3; Psalms 50:13, 138: 7; 11: 2, 63: 10-14. The Holy Spirit cannot be just an emanation (impersonal force), because in him we observe all the characteristics of an individual (intellect, emotions and will) and he is considered divine.
Thus, from the various sections of the Hebrew Scriptures, it is evident that the three persons are spoken of as divine and appearing to God: the Lord God Yahweh, the Angel of Yahweh, and the Spirit of God.