Monday, April 23, 2012

Use of the Names of God in Genesis 3:1-3

Recently, I was asked if Eve’s use of the Hebrew 'elohiym, for God had any significance in her conversation with the serpent? That conversation is recorded in Genesis 3:1-3

Genesis 3:1 KJV - Now the serpent [5175] was [1961] more subtil [6175] than any beast [2416] of the field [7704] which the LORD [3068] God [430] had made [6213] . And he said [559] unto the woman [802], Yea [637], hath God [430] said [559] , Ye shall not eat [398] of every tree [6086] of the garden [1588]?
Genesis 3:2 KJV - And the woman [802] said [559] unto the serpent [5175], We may eat [398] of the fruit [6529] of the trees [6086] of the garden [1588]:
Genesis 3:3 KJV - But of the fruit [6529] of the tree [6086] which [is] in the midst [8432] of the garden [1588], God [430] hath said [559] , Ye shall not eat [398] of it, neither shall ye touch [5060] it, lest [6435] ye die [4191] .  [1]

 At the time of the conversation there are only two options introduced in scripture, 'elohiym and Yĕhovah 'elohiym.  'elohiym is used exclusively from Genesis 1:1 until Genesis 2:4 in reference to God. It is only after the first Sabbath that the use of Yĕhovah 'elohiym is recorded by Moses. The transition scripturally introduces the proper name of God, Yĕhovah which is attached to 'elohiym.  The proper name of God translates to “The Existing One”. This can be seen better with the use of Young’s Literal Translation which was written as a companion to the King James Version for better academic or literal use. This also reveals the King James use of “LORD” in expressing Jehovah in English usage.

Genesis 3:1 YLT - And the serpent hath been subtile above every beast of the field which Jehovah God hath made, and he saith unto the woman, `Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?'
Genesis 3:2 YLT - And the woman saith unto the serpent, `Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we do eat,
Genesis 3:3 YLT - and of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die.'[2]

The Hebrew tradition of not pronouncing the proper name of God, due to the fact of its great holiness may factor into the use of 'elohiym in the Serpent conversation. This being the first recorded conversation in which God is spoken, means there is no reference preceding this conversation to place it in context of being proper or improper.  

Eve is speaking the next two times the name of God is spoken in scripture.

Genesis 4:1 KJV - And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
Genesis 4:25 KJV - And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, [said she], hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.[3]

Every reference to God in Chapter Four other than Eve’s statement in verse 25 uses Yĕhovah without attaching 'elohiym. The post sin relationship of Adam and Eve to God may be indicated in this usage. Moses returns to the primary use of ‘elohiym in Chapter Five. The first birth is a declaration of joy and blessing from God. The second birth is barely recorded and the third is more a statement of fact than announcement. So we see Yĕhovah in praise and 'elohiym in a statement of fact. But this cannot change the understanding of the pre-sin mindset of Eve.

The next scripturally recorded quote in which God is spoken is in Genesis 9:25-27. This gives us little assistance in that Noah uses both terms in the same statement.  Although, you could argue that Noah first uses the literal phrase, “Blessed of Jehovah my God” [4] in this post flood period to declare his relationship to God, to his children. Noah then returns to the same practice as the first recorded conversation using 'elohiym.

Genesis 9:25 KJV - And he said [559] , Cursed [779] [be] Canaan [3667]; a servant [5650] of servants [5650] shall he be unto his brethren [251].
Genesis 9:26 KJV - And he said [559] , Blessed [1288] [be] the LORD [3068] God [430] of Shem [8035]; and Canaan [3667] shall be [1961] his servant [5650].
Genesis 9:27 KJV - God [430] shall enlarge [6601] Japheth [3315], and he shall dwell [7931] in the tents [168] of Shem [8035]; and Canaan [3667] shall be his servant [5650].[5]

Eve would not have had any reference to sin or a rejection of God verbally or by experience during the Serpent Conversation. This is not a question of intelligence, but rather a reference to her place in the timeline of creation.  Therefore, there would be no reason for her to declare allegiance because she only knew the true God. (Yĕhovah 'elohiym) The conversation precedes sin; no one had ever failed to walk with God as in the latter days of Noah.  

I would conclude that it would be difficult to present any argument of motive in Eve’s selection of 'elohiym in the Serpent Conversation. It would be much easier to argue that Yĕhovah is assumed because there is no alternative in the timeline of creation. Applying later scriptural truths would violate exegetical practice either from Eve in Chapter Four or Noah in Chapter Nine.

[1] Blue Letter Bible King James Version with Strong’s numbering of key words.
[2] Blue Letter Bible Young’s Literal Translation (Strong’s number not available in this version)
[4] Blue Letter Bible Young’s Literal Translation
[5] Blue Letter Bible King James Version with Strong’s numbering of key words.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Building a Pyramid of Understanding - Preview

This new book is in the final stages of editing for release at on Kindle keep watching its coming soon!


We have all struggled to understand our relationship to God. This relationship is the most important relationship anyone will ever have and yet the least understood by most people. I can only take in so much information at any given time, which causes me to break down information into useable sizes and formats. In this case Building a Pyramid of Understanding helps to give shape to thoughts and spiritual truths. In an effort to breakdown my understandings of God four triangles are revealed. These are summarized in the first four chapters revealing the aspects of God, Man, Temptation, and Christian Service.
The triangles then could be placed together as an interactive pyramid revealing three levels of relationships with God. The relationships are named Creation, Salvation and Growth, which show the growing relationship intended between God and mankind. When we view the sections individually we can grasp the beginning of their meaning. When applied to each other they reveal greater depth than either reveals in a singular fashion. Rather than simply adding one to the other you can find yourself embraced in Spiritual Trigonometry.  Spiritual Trigonometry could be described as searching for the biblical angles that enlighten our understanding of God and applying such enlightenment into our lives.
The pyramid is only being used as a complex shape to signify the complex relationship between God and Man. When you see the four aspects as triangles laid together they form a pyramid. Then if you see that pyramid horizontally cut into three sections, you will find three squares revealed signifying the three relationships to God. The basis of this writing is to serve as a tool in understanding the relationship of God to man according to the scriptures. This is in no way intended to promote some mystical relationship to pyramids. It is intended to provoke thought and introspection for the individual toward God.
For years I heard it said, “We need to know the vertical relationship with God and the horizontal relationship with man, which symbolizes the Cross of Calvary.”  Where such thought originated is unknown to me. It also limits us to a two-dimensional relationship with a multi-dimensional God and His complex creations. In reality it is the type of thought that says, “I’m saved so everything is okay!” The fact is that your salvation is more than fire insurance. The call of God on your life goes deeper than simply meeting temporal needs. God is calling each of us to look at life through the many angles He created, in order to find the path He wants us to walk through life, the path we’re called to uniquely walk throughout life’s journey. We are not called to march in step with an earthly army of unthinking believers; we are called to uniquely walk in Him. My prayer is that this writing helps someone on the journey God has called them to walk.