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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > Elohim: The Creator 


“God” in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. The word appears thirty-two times in Chapter One of Genesis in the Hebrew text and over 2500 times in the entire Old Testament and speaks of God as “the Strong One,” “the Mighty One,” the One able to create—the Creator God (see: Elohim and Theos). Elohim is the Creator. He is the One who dominates in Genesis One, dominates in the very chapter that tells of His Creation, the Creation that cannot be separated from Him because He is the One who creates and then informs man of His activity.

The dominance of God/Elohim in Genesis 1:1 is a harbinger of what is found in the rest of the Scriptures. God is the theme of the Revelation, from the initial book of Moses to the concluding writing of the Apostle. A recognition of this fact informs the reader that the subject matter of the Scriptures is theological: the content of the Canon is a word about God. The Scriptures are from God and the theme of Scripture is God—His Person, and His Work of Creation, Redemption, and Consummation—in order that all glory may be God’s and only God’s.

The proper response to Elohim is faith! The believer affirms the first article of the Apostles’ Creed, which is an enlargement of the Old Roman Creed: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” To refuse faith is to be left with doubt or denial, and either is ultimately a rejection of Elohim, a rejection involving condemnation (Jo. 3:18) and wrath (Jo. 3:36).

The verb bara, translated “created” in Genesis 1:1, refers exclusively to Divine activity, and when used of God it speaks of something “great, new and ‘epoch making’ as only God can do it, whether it be in the realm of the physical or of the spiritual” (Leupold, Genesis, I, 40). In this form (Qal) the verb “always means to create, and is only applied to a divine Creation” (K&D, I, 47). Three times in the first chapter the verb is used of God:

           God “created” (bara) the heavens and the earth (v. 1);

           God “created” (bara) the fish and the birds (v. 21);

           God “created” (bara) man (v. 27).

Only God is capable of this; only God can bara. Only Elohim has the prerogative and the omnipotence to bara. To speak of Creation is to enter the realm of the Divine and to speak of that which is only true and permissible of God. The ability to create is uniquely the ability of Deity. Creation must be the act of God because the potential resides only with Him. He is Elohim, and He alone. There is no Other.

(a plural word in the Hebrew taking a singular verb) is an unmistakable and undeniable reference—not obvious to all and rejected by many—to the three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Again, here is a poignant illustration of the principle that every single word of Scripture is interpreted by all the words of Scripture. Not only do later revelations in the Scriptures justify this assertion that the essence of the Godhead is in this single word, but they also attribute Creation to each person in the Godhead. Support for the Trinitarian concept cannot be denied this word (see: Elohim and Theos).

To say that Creation is the act of God (Elohim) is to say that Creation is the act of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for each Person had a part in Creation. This is not to indicate that the work was divided among the three persons, but that each person was responsible for the whole and complete act of Creation. Each was responsible, for it was the work of the Triune God. There was a unity of purpose and execution of plan within the Godhead.

Scripture attests to the creative work of God the Father (Acts 4:24; 14:15; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:1-2; God the Son (Jo. 1:1-3; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2, 8-10), and God the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Ps. 104:30; Isa. 40:12-13). Consider the following verses from the above references:

God the Father

Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them (Acts 4:24).

For us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things (I Cor. 8:6).

Which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9).

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the    fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . . through whom also He made the worlds (Heb. 1:1-2).

God the Son

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (Jo. 1:1-3).

For us there is . . . one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things (I Cor. 8:6).

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible . . . All things were created through Him and for Him (Col. 1:16; Creation is “by,” “through,” and “for” Christ).

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . . through whom also He made the worlds (Heb. 1:1-2).

God the Holy Spirit

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2).

By His Spirit He adorned the heavens (Job 26:13).

The Spirit of God has made me (Job 33:4).

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created (Ps. 104:30).

If Elohim is the Creator, and if the Scriptures teach that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit created, as the above verses attest, then the word Elohim must be interpreted to include the full meaning of the Triune God.

Elohim in Genesis One must be allowed to anticipate, support, and incorporate later teachings of the Bible regarding God. The meaning of the text is not dependent upon the comprehension of Moses when he wrote. Rather, it is the entire Canon that determines the meaning of a particular word and guides the hermeneutics relative to that word. The context of any particular text is all of the revealed text.

Elohim, the Triune God, is Creator (see: The God of Creation).

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