One God.

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at
Tue Jan 29 08:22:39 EST 2002

It doesn't matter about Elohim in the Shma).
Elohim is not the subject, YHWH is, and YHWH is unambiguously
Elohim can be singular or plural, so one needs to look at 
the verb used, whether that is singular or plural.
But how we got from El to Elohim is a mystery to me,
maybe to avoid syncretism.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ian goldsmith [mailto:iangoldsmith1969 at]
> Sent: Tue, January 29, 2002 7:38 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: One God.
> I know this question must have been asked in the past,
> but I'm curious to know your thoughts.
> In the 'Shema' Deut 6:4 the bible reads 'the LORD your
> God is one'.
> Someone has asked already about what exactly one
> means, but this sentence has a curiosity.
> If the LORD is one God why is the noun 'God' plural?
> This 'plural of majesty' explanation doesn't seem to
> cut much ice I'm afraid. 
> I've no problem whatsoever with 'echad' meaning just
> the numeral one, but surely, as has been pointed out,
> one can be the sum of many parts.
> My point is that God is refered to in the  plural
> Elohim, but is 'one'. God created man in his image,
> male and female he created them. Nobody needs to be
> told that man and woman are very different creatures
> indeed, but the fact that they are both created in
> God's image suggests that both carry some different
> aspects of God's character and that when, they become
> one, they become a composite of mankind as God
> intended.. in his image.
> Perhaps the plural of Elohim suggests that although he
> is one being, he has many roles, equal but different.
> He is after all too much for us to comprehend fully
> and unlike us in very many ways. 
> I'm a father, a son, a worker, a teacher (of sorts)
> and one day hopefully a grandfather. To everyone I
> know I will be one of these roles, but to none will I
> be all. In a sense then even one man can be plural in
> his nature and yet still be one man in the most basic
> description. Perhaps the LORD therefore is able to be
> many persons, but still remain only one God. His 'God'
> aspect is all sufficient, there is no need for more
> 'gods'.
> Just a thought, what do you think?
> Ian.
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