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  3. Who is God talking to in Genesis when he says 'Us' and 'We'?

User Info: JonWood007

JonWood007
3 weeks ago#11
The historical interpretation involves genesis being made up of multiple sources, one of which is the elohist source. The elohist source is an older source and tends to treat god more as a council of beings than an individual deity. When genesis was meshed together it took all of these different sources, mishmashed them together, and you sometimes get weird holdovers from the elohist source involving god referring to himself in the plural.
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User Info: DaveTheUseless

DaveTheUseless
3 weeks ago#12
Makes sense, especially given the similar stories in other regions and traditions.
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User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 weeks ago#13
WelshGamer82 posted...
Aside from your first sentence, I agree with you entirely - I have no idea whether it's referring to the Trinity or not, but depending on your view of inerrancy and divine authorship of scripture, isn't it perfectly feasible that God could be referring to His triune self without the ancient Israelites even realising it?

Surely all Christians believe the Bible is as applicable now as it was in the first century, which means that we constantly take the message as written, and apply it to our 21st century lives - we take the verses on the sanctity of life, and that informs our morals on say... abortion, even if the Bible doesn't specifically have a penalty for abortion, or even use the word abortion.

I see no reason why that wouldn't apply in the first instance, where the human authors of Genesis thought they were referring to a discourse between God and his heavenly host, but that the proper context clarifies itself when God identified himself as a Trinitarian God in the first century.

I should note that this is just me spitballing here. I have no idea what the "we" is referring to.


It’s certainly plausible, and not outside the realm of possibility, but I don’t think that’s the case here.

The way I see it, the Bible is a divine-human creation. God spoke through humans. Now, there’s a spectrum on which, from a human level, the activity of God in speaking through humans is more or less obvious. There’s some that think that God literally dictated Scripture to humans to write down. Or that the writers of Scripture entered into a trance-like state. I don’t think that’s what happened most of the time, although portions of prophetic material certainly came from prophetic visions.

I tend to think that most of the time, inspiration was on the other end of the spectrum. The writers of Scripture were fully in their right minds when writing Scripture, and God was there to set up their life circumstances in such a way to reveal truth to them and he spoke in a ‘still, small voice’ to prevent them from error. I do think there are instances in which the fuller meaning of Scripture was not able to be known until the time of the New Testament revelation (as in, say, Isaiah 53; the original prophecy was about Israel, but it was fulfilled completely in Jesus, who embodied Israel on the cross). But I don’t think there is always a fuller meaning there.

Here, I don’t think that the two potential meanings can both make sense. From a historical point of view, Moses (or whoever wrote that line) probably had a divine council in view. That’s an extremely prevalent belief not just in the ancient near east, but in the Old Testament in general. The first question for me is: what did the original author mean when he said this?

I don’t think that God is going ‘supersede’ the original meaning in newer revelation. The original meaning is still intact, and sometimes we see there’s more going on there, but I don’t ever think there’s less going on there. One might say that the plurality present in creation is a divine foreshadowing or picture of Trinitarianism, but I’m hesitant to say that that’s the ‘true meaning’ that the original authors/readers were unaware of.

I’m very keen on divine foreshadowing. I think God inspires Scripture in such a way that there’s often a lot more going on than the original author intended, but not less.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 weeks ago#14
I hope the distinction was clear. In Isaiah 53, I think a robust interpretation of the life and ministry of Jesus builds upon the original meaning of Isaiah 53 as intended for Israel. Jesus sums up the ministry and vocation of Israel: to receive the blessing of God and become a blessing to the nations. Where Israel failed to bless the nations, Jesus fulfilled their calling and thus embodied Israel. So while Isaiah 53 may have originally been intended for Israel, the fuller sense of the Scripture can be rightly said, from a Christian perspective, to include the life and ministry of Jesus.

In regards to Genesis, if we take for granted that the original sense was indeed a divine council, then it’s harder for me to grant a Trinitarian reading. It seems that the Israel/Jesus connection is more congruent and biblically-rooted. To me, it is less congruent to say that God was speaking to the divine council and that he was speaking to the other members of the Trinity at the same time. To read it in a Trinitarian way almost invalidates the original sense, which I think is the danger here.

Of course, I could be wrong, but those are my reservations.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
(edited 3 weeks ago)

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 weeks ago#15
the_hedonist posted...
It is my opinion, following the work of Bible scholar Michae Heiser, that God is addressing the members of the divine council, basically just lesser spiritual beings. Kinda like angels and demons, but the terminology of angels and demons isn’t really precise and is colored by a variety of usages over the millenia.

I am not a Trinitarian, and I agree with this.

I've also heard something from scholars describing the Hebrew's use of plural nouns with singular verbs being indicative of majesty/importance/an expression of divine qualities. I haven't done much research, but I've heard this offered as an explanation.

My own simple explanation is that God, who is spirit, is speaking to the other spiritual beings, of the fact that man will be created as a spiritual being (something not attributed to animals/plants).
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 weeks ago#16
On a side note, doesn't "Elohim" mean "ones from above?"

I don't know where I'd heard this, and don't know the Semitic languages myself, but I seem to recall hearing that "Allah" and "Elohim" are closely related because "Ela/Allah" simply mean "up/above," or something along those lines.

I have always told my friends that Skyrim is a play on "Elohim," and need to correct myself if untrue.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: TheGrowlanser

TheGrowlanser
3 weeks ago#17
1 John 5:7 (KJV)
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
You never fight against justice.

User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 weeks ago#18
Maybe you didn’t notice me ask in the other topic, YHWH_Saves, but what are your beliefs regarding Trinitarianism? Are you more of a classical unitarian, a modalist, something else? What do you believe about the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

In regards to the etymology of the word elohim, I don’t recall ever hearing it literally meaning “ones from above,” but I’m not Hebrew scholar, so it totally could be. All I know is that in the Old Testament it is not a term reserved for Yahweh. The word elohim is kinda a catch-all term used to refer any spiritual/non-physical being: the most high God (Yahweh), but also angels, demons, the watchers, seraphim, cherubim, gods of other nations, even the spirits of dead humans. So I guess that translation would kinda fit with the idea.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
3 weeks ago#19
the_hedonist posted...
Maybe you didn’t notice me ask in the other topic, YHWH_Saves, but what are your beliefs regarding Trinitarianism? Are you more of a classical unitarian, a modalist, something else? What do you believe about the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

To be honest, I've purposely stayed away - once becoming aware of the argument - from looking up those terms. However, I can give you a brief synopsis of what I believe about God's "triune" nature.

I believe that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the Creator of our world (and us). He is the "Father" whom Jesus referenced during his ministry on earth.

I believe that God purposed human beings to carry His "image" (being/essence/purpose) on earth, but that sin prevented this. In other words, we all were supposed to look like, represent and act on God's image from the beginning, but we fell. Had we not fallen, I could look at you and see God. You could look at me and see God. This is best exemplified when the public bears witness to a "hero" who gives his life to save a child from a subway train, or something like - everyone is in tears, and is overwhelmed by the presence of goodness.

Jesus is the πρωτοτοκος των νεκρων (the first to be born from the curse of death [the fall]). He is the image of God, once again perfected. On account of him (the original man, carrying God's image) the world was created. He is the "very good" creation in whom God is pleased. He is the restored Son of God (notice that Luke gives Adam this same title). To him (and to us) all creation is given under our dominion.

==================

Therefore, I don't believe that Jesus is claiming to actually be God when he says, "When you see me, you've seen the Father." He is, in my view, saying that he has fulfilled the image of God. When he says things like "it is finished," he is calling into view the restored perfect obedience of man to God.

For the first time since the beginning of the world - and I don't say this lightly - human beings can look to Jesus and see the invisible God. They can know who/what God is. They can recognize that they were created for sonship (not servitude). In other words, like John writes: "No one has ever perceived God, but the unique God who is in the heart of the Father - that one has fully brought out His divine character."

==================

As for the Holy Spirit, I believe that it is nothing more/less than the direct/immediate/felt presence of God - the same that was "hovering over the waters" in Creation. Interestingly, the authors seem to correlate spirit with breath (it's the same word, apparently), and therefore, the "thing" that drives the human vessel is God's breath. The opposite of a "holy" spirit is an unclean spirit, which the NT references several times as being the agent of destruction/possession.

When Jesus sends forth the "holy" spirit back into man, he is exorcising the wickedness of man, collectively. It is the fulfillment of the promise of Joel 2:28 ("I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.").

====================

With all of this being said, I don't oppose Trinitarianism. It's that I think it can be a detractor from what I believe to be the real, comprehensive, interpretation of salvation (to restore God's image to mankind and to exorcise the demonic spirits that drive us towards evil). I have no problems with calling Jesus "God in the flesh," because I think that's the gift that we're all supposed to carry.

I don't agree with Islam OR James White, in other words.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".
(edited 3 weeks ago)

User Info: the_hedonist

the_hedonist
3 weeks ago#20
Maybe you answered this question in your response, but I didn’t pick up on it if you did.

Was Jesus a man that was the first to obey God fully, and thus, as you say, the image of God is expressed perfectly in him?

Along slightly different lines, did God (the Father) do something different with Jesus so that this would happen?

For me, I can understand the hope not to get distracted. Certainly I think some of the Trinitarian debates can be distracting at times. I agree with your ‘real comprehensive interpretation of salvation,’ although I would probably add some qualifiers because I think the idea of the image of God has multiple dimensions and that it is poorly understood.

Belief in the Trinity is important to me simply as a way to affirm the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, while also affirming monotheism. The language we use is less important than the content of our beliefs (although language is not unimportant). There’s loads more theological implications of Trinitarianism, but I must say I believe it simply because I see it. I don’t know how else to square up the depiction of Jesus in the New Testament.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word.
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
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