Updated: Feb 5
The topic for today is the first chapter of Genesis. With that known, go grab your Bibles or do an Internet search of “Genesis 1” and bring that up. Read that.
That explains “elohim” as being possible to mean two forms of “god.”
Can you think of what a “lesser god” would be like? There are no wrong answers here, so say what you think. Good. Now, if you scroll down and find the heading on the left that says “Brown-Driver-Briggs,” right below that is says “elohim” is a “noun masculine plural.” When it says the word is masculine, that says “God, god” is not the same as a “goddess,” which would be a feminine noun. When it says “plural,” that means the word “elohim” actually says “gods,” because the word references more than one “god.”
Do you think it is easier to write “el” [“אֵל”] or “elohim” [“אֱלֹהִ֑ים”]? Do you think anyone would write the word that means “gods” and expect people many years later to intuit “gods” means “god”? Now, we only know of one God, so the realization that “elohim” means “gods” [“el” is the Hebrew noun masculine singular] means it is good that we used our brains to imagine what a “lesser god” would be like.
Now that we know that “elohim” actually means “gods,” we also know that Genesis 1 begins by stating, “In the beginning created gods.” Think about that for a moment and then tell me if that makes sense to you. Now that you have pondered that change, do you think God created everything? I do. I also think that God is so great He can create lesser gods. That means, “In the beginning created gods” says God’s first step in the Creation story was to created lesser gods. Can you see that too? Can you see God as great enough to create lesser gods? Think now about what a lesser god would be like. Would they be like Santa’s helpers? Could they be like angels?
How do you define “god,” written in the lower-case? I found these definitions. Read them and tell me what your definition would be: • (lowercase) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
• (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy. Good. Now, let’s do a fun project. Click on the left arrow at the top left of your Internet page [<-] and return to the Interlinear page for Genesis 1. When you are there, take your cursor and [this is a little tricky] highlight the Hebrew word under where the first “’ĕ·lō·hîm” is. The Hebrew is funny looking letters, which look like this: “אֱלֹהִ֑ים.” The tricky part is you have to move the cursor from the left part of that word and highlight to the right. When you have highlighted “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” copy that [right click, scroll to “copy” and left click]. Now that we have loaded the Hebrew word “אֱלֹהִ֑ים,” use your cursor and find the top right toolbar where is shows three dots in an “I” line. When your place the cursor arrow on the three dots is says, “Customize and control.” Click on that and a dropdown menu comes up. Scroll down and click on “Find…”. That brings up a search field, where you paste “אֱלֹהִ֑ים.”
When you do that, you will notice lots of highlighted words in the Interlinear text and the search field will show “1/32”. That means there are thirty-two times in Genesis 1 that “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” is in the text. The “elohim” sure were busy, don’t you think? Can you see how that many times  makes understanding “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” important? Now, with the idea of “gods” doing the work of God, think about “gods” being the Laws of the Universe, such as Mathematics, Physics, Gravity, Biology, Chemistry and Geology, as creations of God that had to be maintained in the physical. For as long as we exist on earth, those Laws will live without dying. That makes them eternal entities, like “elohim.”
Can you see how translating “elohim” properly, as “gods,” makes Genesis 1 a perfect match for all other religious beliefs, where many gods existed once upon a time? Does that seem like a good thing?
If other religions saw our religion as friendly, accepting their beliefs in many gods [polytheism] without condemnation, do you think being friendly would get more to look closely at what we believe? If others looked more closely at what we believe, do you theink they might start believing what we believe? Good. Now let’s discuss the aspects of “days” in creation. Do you think a “day” (from the Hebrew word “yō·wm” or “yom”) is like what we call a “day” – a twenty-four hour period of time? Do you think the term “day” (“yom”) can be figurative, more like a “stage” of Creation, rather than a twenty-four hour period? Do you realize that a human “day” is based on the rotation of the planet Earth, so that when part of the planet is away from the Sun it is dark and we call that “night,” but in reality the Sun stays in one place and never stops sending out light? Which “day” was “man” (“’ā·ḏām” or “adam”) created? Right! The sixth day! Very good. Now, verse 27 states: “So “gods” created mankind in [their] own image, in the image of “gods” [they] created them; male and female [they] created [them].” Realizing that “elohim” is plural, so the correct English pronoun translations that matches the plural number would be “their, they, or them,” does “male” [“zā·ḵār” or “zakar”] and “female” [“ū·nə·qê·ḇāh” or “neqebah”] mean Adam and Eve, or would it reference other males and females created? Do you think the fish, animals, males and females were made in adult forms or as babies? In verse 28, when the “gods” told males and females to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground,” how much time [as you know time] did that take to happen?
You believe it takes more than a day for a baby to grow up and be fruitful, don’t you?
Good. One last point I want you to ponder. You do realize that the whole Book of Genesis was written a long, long, long time after Creation. Many scholars believe Moses dictated it and the Israelites memorized it – word for word – and then wrote it down when they got to a point in history when paper and pens were available to write it all down on scrolls. Knowing that reality, how do you think Moses knew what happened during the “six days of Creation”?
Do you think God (the One El) told him?
Do you think God has the power to also speak through the person actually writing what we know as Genesis 1? Do you think God would allow that writer to write “elohim” if it was not the God-chosen perfect word, meaning “gods”? Well, think about that; but now it is time to call an end to this study session. This has been fun. I will leave you at this point to let you ponder more about what Genesis 1 says and means. Next time, we will go into the text and meaning of Genesis 2. So, if you want to get a head start, go ahead and be looking at that too. Till then, have a nice “day”! [or “yom“]
If any questions come up about this lesson, fell free to post them in the comments.