Sep 15, 2015

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Trinity is Hidden in the Old Testament

Trinity is Hidden in the Old Testament

“And [the] Godhead (Elohim in Heb.) said, let us create man

in our image.” (Gen.1:26) my translation/notations

I find it amazing how much hidden content is jam-packed into the translation of a simple sentence. Take the sentence above, which is translated by the Jewish people, and by most Christian scholars, as, “And God said, let us create man in our image.” Now, because the Jewish people are Unitarians (they believe in a God in one person), that translation is compatible with their thinking. But as Trinitarian Christians (since we believe in a God in three persons), we ought to consider whether the translation at the top of the page might be a better way to express what God is saying. Let me explain. Surprisingly, in Hebrew several of the names for God are plural nouns; not the singular form almost always used in translation. For instance, in the sentence above, God (Elohim) is actually a plural noun. The him at the word’s end proves this fact. Now read the rest of the sentence. It says, “Let us (not me) create man in our (not my) image.” Do you see the problem? Now look at another example. In the sentence “O Lord (Adonai) God what will you give me?” (Gen.15:2), Adonai is mostly translated as if it were a singular noun, but it is not. Adonai is a plural noun. The singular would have been Adon. In my opinion the hidden content that God is communicating to us, and which is being overlooked, probably out of fear of our being taken for polytheists (people who believe in lots of different gods), is that God exists as a compound/collective unity. Consequently, again in my opinion, the best approach is to translate the word Adonai with the term Godhead because Godhead, as a collective noun, makes room for an understanding that the Trinity is being included. Here is a simple example from our every-day life to make all this clear. Think about H2O (as analogous to Godhead in this example) and realise that whether it occurs in a vapour, liquid or solid form (analogous to 3 persons in the Trinity) H2O is one unity (just as God is one unity).

Bible Study Discussion Questions:

  1. Has, or how has, your own understanding of the connectedness and rootedness of the New Testament in the Old been strengthened by reading and thinking about this alternative translation of God’s word? Discuss.
  2. Are you able to make the transition from “head” learning to “heart” learning and does, or has already, this presentation helped you feel more closely related to Jewish people? Why or why not? Discuss.
  3. If you do want to explain to Jewish people that God loves them and that Christ is calling to them, do you think what was presented here will likely be helpful? Why or why not?   Discuss.
  4. How has this information about the Hebrew names of God contributed to your understanding/belief in the Trinity? Discuss.

Written by Heather Whitehouse, Ontario 1stVP/Chaplain, The King’s Daughters and Sons, September, 2015

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