Elohim / Theos

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

“What’s in a name?” That’s the question that Juliet asks of the sticky situation between her and Romeo. She knows that the two families are feuding, and they will not allow this relationship. She also understands that no matter what name Romeo has, he will be just as thrilling to her. In ancient times names were extremely important. They denoted the character of the person, as well as distinguishing that person from the person next to them. God has given us many of His names in His Word. Each of them tells a little bit different perspective of His character. The people we read about in the Bible experienced God in so many different ways, just as we do today. This year for Advent I want to look at some of the different names of God in an effort to deepen my relationship with Him as we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I pray that you would find meaning in this study, as well.

The first name I want to look at is actually found in the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning Elohim …” This name is actually in the plural form, but it has a singular verb. It would kind of be like saying “They is from the United States.” It flows much smoother than that, but at least that gives you an idea of what is happening. The singular form of the name is El. This is a name that was taken from the Canaanites. It refers to deity of any kind. It is a general title for God or god. By using the plural form the Bible is emphasizing His unlimited power and strength. It is kind of like saying He is the God of gods. This word also implies the idea of the Trinity. We are given the idea that all three persons of the Godhead are present at Creation.

This name is found 2,570 times in the Old Testament. 2,310 times we find it used in reference to the One True God. In Genesis 1 Elohim is used 32 times! In the Bible it is usually translated as ‘God’. Many times we will find Elohim paired with another name for God, “Yahweh”. There are also many times that the name “El” is paired with other words, such as “El Shaddai”. Elohim reminds us of the power, authority, sovereignty, faithfulness, and majesty of God. It reminds us of his transcendence. Mostly, though, it reminds us that God is the Strong Creator. He is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. He created something out of nothing.

Connection to Jesus: As we are approaching Christmas, let’s look at how Jesus displays or fulfills each of these names that we discuss. So, since the Old Testament is originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament is originally written in Greek, we will obviously not find the exact name in the New Testament. The characteristic is there though! The main characteristic of Elohim is Creator. So, are there Scriptures that link Jesus with being the Creator? Why yes, there is!

The first chapter of the Gospel of John introduces us to Jesus by referring to Him as the Word. It is clear that Jesus was at the beginning, when the world was created. He was also part of doing the creating:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was with God in the beginning.   Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 

John 1:1-3

Paul refers to Jesus in the first chapter of his letter to the church at Colossae. He clearly understood Jesus to be a part of the creation of the world as well:

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

Colossians 1:16-17

As we begin this Advent season, ask God to remind you of Jesus work in the task of Creation. Jesus had the strength and power from the very beginning, but He gave up His rights to come and be born as a baby, so that He could rescue You and I from our sin. In Matthew 12, we are reminded of our value, but also in Psalm 139. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture, because it reminds me of how much God loves me.

 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.   I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.   Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Psalm 139:13-16

The Creator of the Universe, the Creator of you and I, loved us so much that He came to earth as a baby. Now that is some pretty amazing love! If you have been through trauma, remember that He loves you so much. It may be difficult to understand the situations you have been through, and I pray that as we go through this study of God’s names, you will understand a little more of His heart. Even if you can’t see His hand, you can trust His heart!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *