The hebrew word for God. Elohim can be either singular or plural, a fact sometimes used by Christians in sermons to exemplify the mystery of the three in one nature of God. Also, the name of the God of our planet according to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

A Hebrew word for God (see Hebrew words for God for some history of this and other words). It appears to be the plural form of "Eloha", which could be a variant form of "El", or God. Hence the oft-repeated claim that it means "Gods" -- it probably does. However, the Bible uses the word as if it were singular: the word "created" is singular in "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth".

So it would appear that this settles the matter: It's an old word, used in the plural form out of respect (European languages pluralise the second person for respect; in modern English "you" is the only form left for it!), or because of an even earlier pagan word. It acquired its current unambiguous meaning well before they started writing the Bible.

But things are not that simple. First, only portions of the Bible use the word to refer to God (YHWH is used in most of the Bible). And Job 38 (which probably has a very ancient origin, and is peculiar even by the standards of the book of Job) contains what could be interpreted as references to more than one god!

E*lo"him (?), n. [Heb.]

One of the principal names by which God is designated in the Hebrew Scriptures.

 

© Webster 1913.

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