Question #32 — Is the presence of plural pronouns “Us, Our, Our” in Genesis 1:26 a strong proof that the term ELOHIM is always plural a composing three persons in the Godhead?
Answer: To me, the presence of the three plural pronouns in Genesis chapter One is a weak argument in proving the presence of three persons in the Godhead because there are more singular pronouns in the same chapter referring to the same antecedent which is Elohim.
The word “God” in Genesis chapter one is ELOHIM in the Hebrew Bible. It is employed 30 times in this chapter one. There you have 30 times Elohim as the antecedent of Three (3) plural
pronouns. On the other hand, singular pronouns: “I” used 2 times, “His” used 1 time, “He” used 3 times, a total of 6 singular pronouns.
If one argues that 3 plural pronouns proves the presence of a plurality of persons involved in the term Elohim, what does 6 singular pronouns prove about the number of persons in the same antecedent noun Elohim? It means that the term Elohim is not always plural in person. It means that Elohim is also singular in person.
In Genesis chapter 2, Elohim (used 2 times), and LORD God (used 10 times) is the antecedent of the pronouns “His” (3 times), “He” (8 times), and “I” (1 time). Because only singular pronouns are used in chapter 2, should that not prove that Elohim has one person in that context? Should it not? If not, why not? So Elohim does not always involve plurality of persons in the name.
In connection with Isaiah 52:12, some Bible teachers think that there are two persons of the Godhead involved: one person of the Godhead in front (LORD or Yahweh) of the returning Jews and a second person (God or Elohim) at the rear of the caravan. Note that Elohim is one person at the rear. So Elohim at the rear is one person not plurality of persons yet He is called Elohim.
I believe in the triune Godhead, but using Genesis 1:26 is weak.
I urge my fellow students of the Bible not to insist that the term Elohim is always plural in persons. Let us be consistent. The plurality could refer to the plural of majesty or plural of respect to Deity. Some suggest that the plural form is suggestive of the plurality of excellent and superior attributes. Among the Greeks, one Deity is often assigned one superior attribute. Or it could refer to angels as the ones addressed or included in the plural pronouns in Genesis 1. Angels are also called Elohim. Please see the Hebrew Index of your Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible OR Strong’s Concordance of the Bible. Both concordances declare that angels are also called Elohim.
We shall come out with lessons in the near future on how to present the view on the Trinity – ET