¨ Gen 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning *God (Elohim)* created the heavens and the earth.
The very first verse of the Bible establishes the name of God.
The Hebrew word that is used is Elohim.
This is the first name of God listed in the Bible.
The word Elohim occurs over 2500 times in the Old Testament.
In Genesis 1:1-2:4 it occurs 35 times.
Obviously, this must be an important word in the Bible.
So today we are going to look at what the name Elohim means.
*430 **אֱלֹהִים* [/’elohiym/ ~/el·o·*heem*~/] n m p. Plural of 433; TWOT 93c; GK 466; 2606 occurrences; AV translates as “God” 2346 times, “god” 244 times, “judge” five times, “GOD” once, “goddess” twice, “great” twice, “mighty” twice, “angels” once, “exceeding” once, “God-ward + 4136” once, and “godly” once.
1a rulers, judges.
1b divine ones.
*2* (plural intensive—singular meaning).
2a god, goddess.
2b godlike one.
2c works or special possessions of God.
2d the (true) God.
Elohim is a unique Hebrew word in that it is a /plural/ word.
When you add “im” to end of a word it makes it plural, e.g.
seraph and cherubs are angels, but when there is more than one they are called seraphim and cherubim.
As a plural word Elohim reflects the fact that God is a Trinity—three Persons in one being, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of whom is God.
The Bible very clearly tells us that God (Elohim) is one God—this is the primary basis of Jewish faith.
¨ Deut 6:4 (NIV) Hear, O Israel: The Lord our *God (Elohim)*, the Lord is one.
We see this plurality and unity in creation.
Not only was the Father involved in creation, but the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
¨ John 1:2-3 (NIV) He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through Him (Christ) all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
¨ Colossians 1:16-17 (NIV) For by Him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
¨ Gen 1:2 (NIV) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the *Spirit of God* was hovering over the waters.
We understand who a person is by what they do.
A teacher teaches; a carpenter builds things, etc.
The first thing that we are told Elohim does is that He *creates* the heavens and the earth.
Now much discussion has been made about /how/ God created the universe—big bang theory, etc.
The fact is the Bible does not state how God created, but that God /did/ create.
So the first thing we learn about Elohim is that He is *The Creator*.
He is not only a creator, but *The Creator* because He is the One who made everything out of nothing.
The Creator of the universe must be powerful and this is the primary meaning of the word Elohim.
Elohim is used to express the idea of *greatness* and *glory*.
It contains the idea of *creative* and *governing power*, of *omnipotence* and *sovereignty*.
Elohim is the Almighty Creator.
What Elohim conceived in His mind, He spoke into existence.
“Then Elohim said:”
A. *First day: creation of light* (1:3–5): “Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’
” He then divides the light from the darkness.
B. *Second day: creation of space and water* (1:6–8): He separates the atmospheric, upper water from the earthly, lower water.
C. *Third day: creation of plant life* (1:9–13): First he separates the water from the land.
The earth then brings forth green grass, plants, trees, and vegetation of every kind.
D. *Fourth day: creation of sun, moon, and stars* (1:14–19)
E. *Fifth day: creation of fish and fowl* (1:20–23)
F. *Sixth day: creation of land animals and people* (1:24–31; 2:7–20)[ii]
¨ Hebrews 11:3 (NIV) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Who among us has the ability to simply speak and light comes into existence?
What less than Almighty Power could bring all things out of nothing?!
It is fitting that God showed Himself to us by His name Elohim as the first revelation of who He is.
Elohim is the one who brought the universe into existence out of nothing.
Elohim planned the design of the universe.
Elohim determined where the stars would be, where the sun and moon would exist in the universe, and where this speck of dust called Earth would be in the vast cosmos.
Elohim brought order out of chaos, light out of the darkness, and life into a lump of clay.
Elohim created the birds, animals, fish, trees, grass, etc. Everything that we see around us was created by Him.
Elohim established basic laws in this universe which do not change—e.g.
gravity—and it is through His power that everything not only exists but continues to work properly.
Elohim created the angels (including Lucifer who fell because of his pride) so there is nothing in the visible and invisible universe that He did not make.
Not only is Elohim The Creator, but the name Elohim gives us other revelations of His nature and character.
“We’ll look at specific titles later but it is helpful now to note various categories of titles by which Elohim is known.
*God the Creator.*
The title Elohim is itself a Creator name (we just saw that).
But Scripture adds to His honor by calling Him “God, who formed the earth” (Is.
45:18) and “God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9).
*God the Sovereign One.
*A number of titles emphasize God’s sovereignty.
He is called “God… of all the kingdoms of the earth” (Is.
37:16), “the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth” (Gen.
24:3), summed up in “God Most High” (Ps.
57:2), “God of all the earth” (Isa.
54:5), the “God of all flesh” (Jer.
32:27), the “God of heaven” (Neh.
2:4), and the “God of gods and the Lord of lords” (Deut.
*God the Judge.*
One aspect of Elohim’s sovereignty is seen in His role as “God who judges in the earth” (Ps.
50:6; 58:11) and as “God of justice” (Is.
*God as Savior.*
A number of titles emphasize God’s relationship to the human beings He has redeemed and called.
Thus Elohim is “the God of your father Abraham” (Gen.
26:24), “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex.
In fact, some 100 such titles are found in the Old Testament, including those that link God with Israel, as “God of the armies of Israel” (1 Sam.
In these titles God is represented as the Savior of His people, truly the “God of our salvation” (1 Chr.
*God of history.*
Other titles link God with His acts in history.
Moses noted that the Israelites “heard His voice from the midst of the fire.…
God speaks with man; yet He still lives” (Deut.
David declared that “God… went out before [His] people” and “marched through the wilderness” (Ps.
*God of relationships.*
There are also titles that convey a sense of God’s intimacy with His own people.
Elohim is “a God near at hand” (Jer.
23:23) and “God in whom you trust” (2 Kin.
He is “my God of mercy” (Ps.