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It is written:
John 1:1-5-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Science and Scripture both affirm that the universe had a beginning. In the Book of Genesis, we are told:
Genesis 1:1-In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Moses declares that God created the heavens and the earth; and yet the Apostle John declares that the universe was brought into existence by Jesus.
How are we to make sense of this?
First, we must remember that the word “God” used in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim, a name used often for God throughout the Old Testament. The remarkable factor for our study here is that the name Elohim is actually plural-a likely reference to the doctrine of the Trinity that is later expounded upon in the Word of God.
“The Athanasian Creed speaks against the heresy of Tritheism, and warns against speaking of the Trinity as “Gods” or “Lords.” The Athanasian Creed was written in the western church in the sixth century by an unknown author who may have had no familiarity with the Bible in the original languages. 6 The Athanasian Creed concerns doctrine, and should not necessarily be interpreted as an exegetical gag rule. Exegetes can discuss the fact that the literal translations of plural forms referring to Yahveh are plural. What to make of that fact, and how to express it doctrinally, is where the Athanasian Creed becomes helpful. The Hebrew plural collective noun Elohim/ elohim (literally, “Gods” or “gods”) occurs 2,600 times in 2,247 MT verses. Most instances refer to Yahveh, but elohim is also used to refer to angels (Psa 008: 005 [BHS 008: 006]), judges (Exo 21: 06; 22: 08-09 [BHS 22: 07-08]; Jos 24: 01), rulers (Psa 082: 01, 06), as well as false gods and idols. The ancient Hebrews considered Elohim to be a plural collective noun, or a nuanced collective noun, denoting the persons of the Trinity. Elohim was not used to refer to Yahveh in any polytheistic sense. Like other Hebrew plural collective nouns, Elohim/ elohim could take singular or plural verbs and modifiers. For example, Elohim/ elohim could take: Singular modifiers, for example, “Their gods [ elohim] will be [plural verb] a snare [singular noun]” (Exo 23: 33; Jdg 02: 03), Singular verbs, for instance, “The God/ gods [Elohim/ elohim] who answers [singular verb] by fire—he is Elohim” (1Ki 18: 24). Note that either the haBaalim (“ the Baals”) (1Ki 18: 18), who are Baal and Asherah (1Ki 18: 19), or “the Word” (the Son) (1Ki 18: 01, 31) and the Spirit (1Ki 18: 12), are the collective subject of the conditional sentence (1Ki 18: 24), Plural verbs and modifiers such as: o “… gods [elohim] are near [plural modifier]…” (Deu 04: 07), o “… make us gods [elohim] who will go [plural verb] before us…” (Exo 32: 01, 23), o “… gods [elohim] neither see… hear… eat… smell…” [plural verbs] (Deu 04: 28), and o The plural verbs and modifier referring to Yahveh (Gen 20: 13; 35: 07; Exo 32: 04, 08; Jos 24: 19 and the like) that are mentioned in the MT plurals appendix. Sometimes Hebrew speakers used singular and plural verbs with Elohim in the same conversation. This tends to prove that Elohim was indeed considered a collective noun. For instance, Sennacheribʼs officers asked in Hebrew (2Ki 18: 28): How can your Elohim [Gods] deliver [singular verb] you out of mine hand (2Ch 32: 14)?… How much less shall your Elohim [plural noun] deliver [plural verb] you out of my hand (2Ch 32: 15)! The chronicler wrote, “Sennacherib ʼs officers spoke further against Yahveh Elohim” (2Ch 32: 16). Other passages with singular and plural verbs referring to Elohim can be found in the MT plurals appendix. Plural collective nouns used with singular verbs suggest that there are the plural members of “a united” (echad) group. So the plural Elohim (literally, “Gods”) used with a singular verb is meant to emphasize that there are three persons of the Trinity. Likewise, the plural form “gods” (elohim) is used with singular verbs to refer to a false god and his goddess consort or progeny. Other plural collective nouns that are similar to Elohim are haElohim (“[ All] the Gods”), Adonai (“ my Lords”) and adonai (“ my masters”). These words are discussed in depth later in this chapter. A form similar to the collective noun Elohim is the plural collective noun Mitsrayim. Mitsrayim can be translated as a singular collective noun “Egypt” (Gen 13: 10; 15: 18), or as a plural collective noun “Egyptians,” according to contextual clues. For example: In Exo 14: 25 Mitsrayim is used with two singular verbs (“ he said” and “let me get away”), but both times Mitsrayim should be translated in the plural as “The Egyptians said, ‘Let us get away, ʼ” and In Exo 14: 18 a plural verb is used with Mitsrayim, so Moses must have meant the plural Mitsrayim to be translated in the plural as “the Egyptians will know,” rather than in the singular as “Egypt will know.” So the plural form Mitsrayim can be translated as a singular collective noun, “Egypt,” or as a plural collective noun, “Egyptians.” This suggests that the plural form Elohim should, depending on the context, be treated as a singular collective noun (God), or as a plural collective noun referring to the persons of Yahveh. For example, Yahveh is a “God [Elohim] of Gods [Elohim], and Lord [Adonai] of Lords [Adonai]” (compare Jos 22: 22; Psa 050: 01; Isa 26: 13; Dan 02: 47; 11: 36; 1Ti 06: 15; Rev 17: 14; 19: 16). Elohim , a plural form, can be translated as “God” or “Gods.” The plural form Adonai can be translated as “Lord” or “Lords.” In the above-listed passages, the first Elohim and Adonai of each phrase should be translated as a singular collective noun, while the second Elohim and Adonai of each phrase should be considered a plural collective noun: “God of Gods” and “Lord of Lords.” The singular collective noun emphasizes Yahvehʼs unity, while the plural collective noun emphasizes that there are persons called Yahveh. That one phrase has both singular and plural collective nouns referring to Yahveh indicates that Yahveh is the Trinity: one God, yet three persons. The “God of Gods and Lord of Lords” passages are similar to the Shema in that they are Trinitarian expressions. The Shema is mentioned later in this chapter, and in the chapter on the Shema.” (Yoel Nathan, The Jewish Trinity: When Rabbis Believed In The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit, 269-309 (Kindle Edition): createspace.com)
So the first thing to notice at this point is that Elohim refers to all three members of the Godhead: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 John 5:7).
Second, this passage of Scripture reminds us that Jesus was the principle Agent through whom creation was made. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this also:
Colossians 1:15-17-He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Notice that Paul tells us here that Christ also was responsible for the creation of the “thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers.” These words included the unseen forces of the spirit world that were made at the time of the beginning of the universe.
“Although Paul used many terms for the angelic powers known to Judaism, this does not mean that what he had to say about the powers of darkness would have been incomprehensible to the non-Jew. While ‘principalities’ (archai) and ‘authorities’ (exousiai) seem to be uniquely Jewish expressions for the unseen realm, many of the other words he used were also used by Gentiles to refer to the world of spirits and invisible powers. Words like ‘powers’ (dynameis), ‘dominions’ (kyriotetes), ‘thrones’ (thronoi), ‘angels’ (angeloi), ‘world rulers’ (kosmokratores), ‘demons’ (daimonia), ‘elemental spirits’ (stoicheia), and ‘rulers’ (archontes) were known and used by pagans, as evidenced in their magical and astrological texts.” (Clinton Arnold, Powers Of Darkness: Principalities & Powers In Paul’s Letters, 90-91 (Kindle Edition): Downers Grove, Illinois; InterVarsity Press).
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were involved in the work of creation.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
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