The names of God #2: Elohim Genesis 1:1
While not the first name by which God revealed himself in person to men, this name has the distinction of being the first name encountered in written revelation. It has therefore some distinction and emphasis. The Hebrew word appears 2601 times in the OT. Of these uses there are numerous instances where the word is used to refer to false gods and even to men in authority, Deut 29:18, Ps 82:6. The context will always determine how the word is used.
I THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NAME.
- Etymology. It is a name which indicates power and omnipotence—similar to the name El that we noticed last time. This is enhanced by:
- Plural. The word is plural in form. This is a device to indicate multiplicity of power.
- Creation. The name is introduced in the context of the creation. What power is associated with it in this way!
- Theology. There is a wonderful theology to this name.
- Trinitarian. It is a plural term yet is accompanied by a singular verb! God is plurality in unity and harmony. This is a first indication of the doctrine of the Trinity to be more fully revealed over the course of time. Cp v2, 26, Col 1:15, John 1:1-3.
- The pre-existence and eternity of God. He is before the beginning of time and all that is material. Cp Eph 1:4, Ps 90:1.
- The transcendence of God. He is before, above and greater than all things. His greatness, majesty and power are past comprehension.
II THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOD AS THE OMNIPOTENT CREATOR IS FUNDAMENTAL TO KNOWING HIM.
The fact that this is the very point written revelation begins with underscores the point.
- He must be recognized as the great first cause of all things. He is Lord and sovereign of all. Cp Dan 4:35, Rev 4:11. There is nothing but comes to man from Him. Cp James 1:17, Ps 145:16, Rom 9:21-24. This is what distinguishes Him from all others who claim to be God. Cp Is 45:18, Jer 10:11, 14:22.
- It is only in the light of this truth that we can know ourselves. It is in the light of this truth that we understand the dignity of the human creature; the true nature of sin as rebellion against God; the wonderful gracious nature of redemption.
- Gospel truth and experience. The entire scope of gospel truth focuses on God as Creator! Cp 2Cor 4:6, 5:17. The faith that saves is faith that embraces God as the Creator! Cp Heb 11:3.
III THE DOCTRINE OF GOD THE CREATOR IS ONE WHICH WICKED MEN HAVE LONG SOUGHT TO OVERTHROW.
Cp Rom 1:19-23.
- Because this is the foundation of all truth it will be attacked. It is interesting to see how the devil in his initial temptation of Eve included an attack upon this very name of God, 3:5.
- This desire is primarily driven by a desire to escape accountability to God.