God makes Himself known to us by way of His written Word. He desires that we understand and know Him intimately and specifically, so He has given Himself descriptive names in the Scriptures. Elohim is the Hebrew word for God, the Creator, and it is the very first descriptive name for God written in His Word. Looking at some of the uses of Elohim in God’s Word will show us aspects and attributes of the great Creator, God. It all starts with Elohim.
In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth.
The word Elohim means “the supreme God, the Creator.” Placing “God” at the beginning of verse 1 puts Him in His proper position. We see this in the Lamsa translation from the Aramaic of Genesis 1:1, which reads, “God created the heavens and the earth in the very beginning.” This first use of Elohim is key in helping us to see some of the unique characteristics of the Creator. Elohim is in the plural, which emphasizes God’s creative greatness. The Hebrew word for “heaven” in this verse is also in the plural to point out the vastness of this expanse. The heavens are so extensive that even though man has reached the moon and established a space station in the earth’s orbit, he has not begun to explore the heavens that God created in the beginning.
Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2:3 tells us verse by verse what God did to frame and restore the second heaven and earth. He established order, set up natural laws, and explained the purpose for His creation. In this section of scripture, God uses the figure of speech polysyndeton, “many ands,” for emphasis. Here’s a sampling:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
In Genesis 1:1 through 2:3, there are 102 separate acts of God listed. The figure of speech here emphasizes the important word “God” from verse 1, which is carried like a lamp through this whole section. Every aspect and detail of creation points back to Elohim, the Creator.
What is the true meaning of the word “create”? Today we hear this term used all the time: chefs, artists, and musicians “create” their masterpieces every day. We can even “create” all kinds of insignificant stuff on a computer by just pushing a few keys. Yet, to speak more accurately, these are actions that make, form, produce, author, or design something out of something that already exists. In contrast, we learn in the foundational class on The Way of Abundance and Power that Biblically to “create” means to bring into existence something which never existed before—to bring something into existence out of nothing. Only God can do that! Only God can create, and He has great purpose for His creation.
For thus saith the Lord [Jehovah] that created the heavens; God [Elohim] himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord [Jehovah]; and there is none else.
God created the heavens and earth with intricate detail and order so that the earth could be inhabited and utilized.
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
The magnitude of the universe created by Elohim is beyond human comprehension. The best that man can do is approximate the diameter of the known universe.
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
There are millions upon millions of stars in the universe. No one but God actually knows how many stars there are. Estimates of the number of stars increase every time our technology advances, allowing man to see further into the expanse of the universe.
When we speak of these great distances in space, we sometimes use the term “astronomical,” which means it is beyond human comprehension. But Elohim, the Creator, comprehends it all. He set the stars all in place and named every one. Their number is so astronomical, the best we can do is estimate. Yet God knows not only their number but gave each and every individual star a specific name. That is a magnificent display of God’s creative greatness!
Another use of Elohim, the Creator, is in II Chronicles 18. Here we see how Elohim brought deliverance with His mighty power. Also, this record shows us an example of how the descriptive names of our magnificent God are used with remarkable precision in the Word to show His various aspects and functions.
II Chronicles 18:30 and 31:
Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.
And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord [Jehovah] helped him; and God [Elohim] moved them [the Syrians] to depart from him.
The Hebrew word for “Lord” in verse 31 is Jehovah, the covenant God. Jehovah had a covenant with Jehoshaphat so that when Jehoshaphat cried to Him, God as Jehovah helped. The word “God” in this verse is Elohim, the Creator, and it was God as Elohim Who moved the Syrians to depart from Jehoshaphat. The Lord God as Jehovah helped Jehoshaphat, while God as Elohim, with His strength and power, moved the Syrians to depart. In this record, Elohim, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, delivered His people. God has not changed. He will do the same for us today….
This is an excerpt from the September/October 2010 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2010 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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