I hear that name all the time. It carries a variety of meanings and certainly is expressed contextually many different ways. My friend was speaking of Thor, god of thunder, as possibly being the most powerful character in the marvel universe. I mean, Thor duel wielding Mjolnir and Stormbreaker is like an unstoppable force. Norse and Greek mythology are full of gods and demi-gods. Brian talks about studying them in high school, venturing through things like Homer’s Odessey. (Fun fact, I never learned Greek Mythology as I went to a Christian high school) Very fascinating stuff, especially how these lores of old have continued to blend into our culture century after century. Yet no matter how many gods are discussed in literature, there is only one with a capital “G”, God.
God is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator, and the sovereign of the universe. Supreme ruler of power, dominion and authority. Superior to all others.
That’s a pretty solid definition right there. Think about how many comic book characters have been created to replicate the magnitude of this being. We have the Beyonder, the Phoenix Force, Living Tribunal, the One-Above-All and yes, even Deadpool. Each and every one continues to fall short of God. Why? It is because as a created being we could never fully describe an indescribable God. So God reveals himself to us in his nearly 1,000 names to help us out a little.
Today, let’s discuss the Hebrew word for God, Elohim.
Elohim אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem (God, Judge, Creator)
Genesis 1:1 is the 1st time God reveals himself as Elohim. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That word for God is Elohim and is used over 2,000 times in the Bible. It is in the plural form and used specifically in reference of the Supreme God. This is how God introduces himself in the Bible as our Creator.
He is Transcendent
As our Creator, Elohim introduces us to a Transcendent God. This means that he exists apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe that he has created. Romans 1:20 states “Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Revelations 1:8 sums this up “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God who is and was and is to come, the Almighty.” This revelation of God operating outside of time, means he is not limited to time. He is timeless. Time is part of a creation that he transcends.
He is Immanent
The second thing that is revealed of Elohim is that He is Immanent, permanently pervading and sustaining the universe. God, in his immanence, is the source of everything in the universe.
He is Omni-Present
A third attribute of Elohim is that He is omni-present. God is everywhere, Jeremiah 23:23-24 describes this, “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.” Elohim fills the heavens and earth with his presence. God is a omni-present God.
He is a Triune God
The last thing we learn from this introduction to him is that Elohim is a triune God. Elohim is the plural form God, captured as Gods. He follows up his opening statement in Genesis 1:1 with Genesis 1:26-27, “Let Us make man in Our image and Our likeness…in the image of God he created them; male and female.” On a side, I find that passage interesting because it denotes that there is a feminine part of the Godhead that is represented when they created females in their image. Countless scriptures dive into the details of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Quite simply, that there are 3 distinct people in one being known as Elohim. All three of them are God for us. So here they are representing a family which we are a part of.
The God of all that exists reveals himself as the Creator. What a way to introduce yourself. That’s my God, good ol’ Elohim.