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Why does God refer to himself in the plural in Genesis :26 and 3:22?

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  • Why does God refer to himself in the plural in Genesis :26 and 3:22?

    Why does God refer to himself in the plural in Genesis :26 and 3:22?

    Lou Newton
    Lou Newton, former Steel Mill Crane Designer and Physics Teacher

    Genesis 1
    26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    Genesis 3
    22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

    One possibility is that God was not referring to Himself in the plural. If I say to my friends, “let us go to town”. I am not referring to myself in the plural but to the group which is plural.

    The angels are created in God’s image also and they also know good from evil. So God could be talking to them as a group and they are plural.

    Answer requested by.....................

  • #2
    Glen B Smith
    To:Lou Newton

    Aug 7 at 3:21 AM

    The Hebrew "El" is plural singular noun translated "God".

    Elohim (El –ohim) is a plural noun translated several ways including God (singular) and gods (plural).

    Elohim occurs in the Old Testament at least 2,079 times.

    YHWH (Jehovah) is an elohim but there is not another elohim that is YHWH.

    When elohim irefers to YHWH

    The ending “im” is really “YM” (yod-mem), and makes the word plural. The Hebrew root “EL” means “strength”, and is understood to be rendered plural by the ending “YM”. Since YHWH is ONE, this often confuses people. The root “EL” is not being used as a name, but is used descriptively as “WHAT” He is. Since the term “EL” means strength, it is really the “strengths” that are many, not the Being. If we only define the word “EL” as “mighty-one”, then we can lose our focus on the root idea very easily. The strengths are really what are plural.

    This explanation does not address the issue of the use of elohim in all the places where it does not refer to YHWH.

    Adonai and Elohim used as plural as in Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Isaiah 6:8

    Both "Adonai" and "Elohim" Are Plural Hebrew Nouns
    "Adonai" is the plural form of "Adon", meaning "my lord"; and the name "Elohim" is the masculine plural form of "Eloah".

    Since "Adonai" and "Elohim" are plural nouns, many Christians have used this as a foundation on which to build the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. However, while these names are written in the plural form, they regularly employ singular verbs in Hebrew grammar and are singular in usage. Therefore, acting in usage as singular nouns with singular verbs, many Bible scholars believe instead that these names represent a plural of majesty, perhaps pointing out that this one God embodies all the attributes of the many pagan gods worshipped by other peoples.

    Plural of majesty - Monarchs when speaking as the Lord of his subjects often referred to themselves using plural nouns and pronouns. It is sought-of like the editorial use of "we."