Well, God has many names. And to make this short, sweet and to the point, I'll tell you that the name used in Genesis is Elohim. Elohim, the Old Testament name designating God as God, is the name used for God as The Creator. 'El' means strong or might. 'Him', the ending is significant, for it is a plural ending in Hebrew that indicates 3 or more. And the 3 or more that Elohim is referring to is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Hope that helps!
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Okay, okay, okay. While the other explanations may be true, here is the one that is widely accepted. The Christian religion believes in a Trinity. Fans of "The Matrix", please settle down. Anyway, the Holy Trinity is One God with Three distinct persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. While there are three persons, there is NOT THREE GODS. When God says let us make man in our image, he is talking about the three persons of the trinity as one God. Each person of the trinity has a job they are related with. God the Father = Creation and protecting of everything. God the Son = Died and rose to take away the sins of the world. God the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) = Places the "seed of faith" in the hearts of people and maintains the faith of believers. Understand? Neither does anyone else. The "Three-in-One" concept will never be fully understood until the believers in Christ have the perfect knowledge in the afterlife. The Liturgy of Christianity explains that while we don't fully understand the wonders of God, we will accept them as true and trust in his unfailing love. I know that everyone all needed a little Bible lesson today...
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This is not a slip up. God did create the world. However, the Bible often later clarifies this passage by referring to Jesus as His master worker, and helper in creation. This is very similar to a house design being named after an architect, even though he had a contractor and crew help him build it. The credit still goes to the architect, because it was his idea and design.
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There are three distinct personages in the Godhead, but they are one God in the sense that they are one in spirit, in mind, and in purpose. Peter and Stephan both testify that they saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God, who would be the Father. And, when Christ was baptized, the Holy Ghost descended as a dove as the Father spoke from on high. It is possible for us to know with a surety what is true and what is supposition. In James 1:5 it says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." This is as true in our day as it was in the days of James. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so to say we can not ask God and receive an answer is false doctrine. I know we can know for ourselves what the absolute truths of all things are.
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The "they" there is referring to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. It was NOT the angels. The angels would never be referred with God like that because they are lower than him way lower they would have nothing to do with the creation.
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Wonderful point, Kendra... except that the "im" (not "him") signifies a plural of... two. Not three. "Shnei Elohim," according to the rules of exegesis, would be four. No room for three, not if you follow, um, grammar.
Believe what you will. I've been studying the Bible (in its original Hebrew) for about eighteen years now, and using the Talmudic rules of exegesis for ten.
The problem with a proof is that it has to prove something.
Elokei is one, the im ending to make it plural becomes two, and any number modifier before the word can be multiplied by that two.
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Since Jewish people do not accept the entire Bible (i.e., "New Testament," or "Greek Scriptures"), this will not apply to them. However, for us who do recognize the entire Bible as God's word, it clearly says in the "New Testament" that Jesus was God's first creation. Jesus was created before anything else, including the angels (incidentally, no angel was ever referred to, anywhere in the Bible, in the sense of female gender...a topic for another time). Anyway, it also says that all things were created "through" him (Jesus), much the same as a developer uses a contractor to do the actual building. It is clear that God, when he said "let US create man in OUR image," he was talking to Jesus. Also, the Bible does NOT teach the trinity doctrine. That doctrine began back in ancient Babylon, where they worshipped no less than 200 false gods and goddesses...many of which were thought to be part of a trinity. When the Roman church (Catholic) began accepting pagans for the first time, they allowed the pagans to bring in much of their terms, rites, rituals, and beliefs, providing they said it was now about God and Jesus....even though they both condemn anything associated with false gods and goddesses (including Eostre, goddess of spring, with rabbits and eggs as part of her symbols...does "Easter" ring a bell?....the word is nowhere in the Bible). Oh, well, nobody's going to change their way of thinking, anyway...just thought I'd mention it (yes, I could find the exact Scriptures about Jesus being God's first creation, etc., but not going to bother if nobody cares anyway).
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Believe in the trinity: fine. Inspired text: no problem. This passage and the plurality involved: realize plurals in Hebrew were used to express greatness, magnificence, power, etc. in addition to number and realize that is what is happening in these passages. Applying a consistent method of interpretation and looking at the context make it obvious this is what is intended. God does exist in a trinity, but that is not what this passage is talking about.
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God is a trinity. That's a semi-confusing doctrine that is taught in the Bible, which says that while He is one God, there are three persons. The Westminster Shorter Catechism explains it this way:
Q How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A There are three persons in the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance, and equal in power and glory.
Granted, it's confusing, but it is true that this is the what the Bible teaches about its Author. After all, Jesus was the same person as God, but God was also in heaven, ruling and providing for the whole earth during that time.
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Okay, I know I already wrote one comment, but reading through it, it didn't come across the way I meant it to. I agree with Wzero that there are three different and separate people in the Godhead. They are one God in the sense that they are so agreed in their interests that they are one. In the scriptures Christ says something like we need to come unto him so we can be one with him, like he is one with the Father. That doesn't mean that we are going to loose our identity and all become one person, we'll just have the same goals and purposes for life. We have the potential to become Gods and Goddesses. There is more purpose to this life than to do our best only to go to Heaven and play on harps and sing praises for the rest of eternity! As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become. I know this is against what most Christians believe, but I know it's the truth. I have prayed about it and gained a testimony, and nobody can tell me I haven't. Anybody can know with a surety what the truth of all things are. Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings, but are so perfect in their goals that they are one in purpose.
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I have a few notes, and possibly the solution to the problem:
First of all, the bible is originally Jewish, and in Judaism, there is only one god (there is no such thing as "the holy trinity").
Second, if you will notice, God is never referred to as a "he" or "they", but always as "God" (You won't find "God did this and then HE did that", but "God did this and then God did that", for example).
Third, it is written that God says "We shall make..." (or something like that, I don't know the exact line in English). There are a few possible reasons for this. It could be a "royal" we, like sitesister said, and also, it could be that God was referring to himself and his angels, like starfish said.
Regarding to what Kendra said, the word "Elohim" in Hebrew is made of Eloh+im. El or Eloh means "A God", and "im" is a suffix for plural. However, God is singular in the bible, in spite of the fact that his name is plural.
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I disagree about there being no Trinity. First of all, the Bible wasn’t just in Jewish, it was actually written in three different languages. The said passage, being old testament is probably in Jewish, but, just because it’s in it doesn’t mean it only applies to Judaism. In Judaism they don’t believe Christ rose and died, and because the Holy Spirit came on the new Christian church they don’t believe in that person either. Since the Jews rejected Jesus they only believe in one concrete, no exceptions God, while those who recognized the prophecies of the old testament being fulfilled became Christians and came to believe in the Trinity. So while the Christian and Jewish people both believe in the old testament, they aren’t the same. As for how this all applies to the verse, I think there were already three persons, they just hadn’t been revealed to the people because they had yet to do their work.
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By the way, Adam and Eve's children married their siblings. So soon after the Fall, their genetic code would have been relatively free from mutations. If anyone wants to discuss this at greater length, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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This is a fact that has been known for years. He talks to himself, stating "we" instead of "I." Many Christian theologians like to believe that this is proof that the Holy Trinity does exist. Others (including myself) believe that he is talking to the angels. Please get your facts straight before posting.
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I agree with those who say there is no Trinity. Elohim refers to the plurality of God's majesty, not persons. While it is true I believe in the Father, the Son, and The Holy Ghost, these are all different titles for the one God... there is a difference between a name and a title. His NAME is Jesus... "There is no other NAME given under heaven by which we must be saved" (I can't remember the reference for that unfortunately, but it's in one of the epistles). I agree it could have been the royal "we" or referring to the angels also. Usually when an angel appears to a person they appear as a human being, right? ;) Anyway... just thought I'd throw that in there. :)
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Ok, the whole Trinity idea is nice, but not acceptable in Judaism. Here's another idea. In Judaism, God is referred to as Adonia and Elohaynu. This represents the different aspects of God, like mercy and justice. Perhaps the different aspects were what the plural name was referring to.
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Actually, this might refer to henotheism, where many gods are accepted but one is chosen to be revered. The people who wrote that part of Genesis - the priests - probably believed that their neighbours gods existed, but that they weren't as worthy of worship as their God.
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To begin with, the Bible of today is, in fact, incomplete and not much of a very good source. Over time, it has been re-written and edited under the direction of priests, popes, kings, etc... to change the way we worship and "CENSOR" anything that they felt would corrupt the individual. So in short, today's bible isn't worth much more than a decorative paper weight. Secondly, God is not a "he" or a "she". God does not have a gender. The Bible was originally written during an age of philosophy (long before the time of Socrates or Plato) and a lot of metaphors, simile's, and the such were used. For instance, anything to do with the "hand of God" is not really depicting God with a hand, but describing an action in which God was involved. Basically, the Bible's intention was to be a guide for the individual and not to be taken literally, because nothing in that book is what it seems.
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