This name, the derivation of which is uncertain, we give to that eternal, infinite, perfect, and incomprehensible Being, the Creator of all things, who preserves and governs all by his almighty power and wisdom, and is the only proper object of worship. The proper Hebrew name for God is JEHOVAH, which signifies He is. But the Jews, from a feeling of reverence, avoid pronouncing this name, substituting for it, wherever it occurs in the sacred test, the word ADONAI, Lord; except in the expression, ADONAI JEHOVAH, Lord Jehovah, for which they put, ADONAI ELOHIM, Lord God. This usage, which is not without an element of superstition, is very ancient, dating its origin some centuries before Christ; but there is no good ground for assuming its existence in the days of the inspired Old Testament writers. The proper word for God is ELOHIM, which is plural in its form, being thus used to signify the manifold perfections of God, or, as some think, the Trinity in the godhead. In Ex 3:14, God replies to Moses, when he asks Him His name, I AM THAT I AM; which means either, I am he who I am, or, I am what I am. In either case the expression implies the eternal self-existence of Jehovah, and his incomprehensible nature. The name I AM means the same as JEHOVAH, the first person being used instead of he third.
The Bible assumes and asserts the existence of God, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;" and is itself the most illustrious proof of his existence, as well as our chief instructor as to his nature and will. It puts a voice into the mute lips of creation; and not only reveals God in his works, but illustrates his ways in providence, displays the glories of his character, his law, and his grace, and brings man into true and saving communion with him. It reveals him to us as a Spirit, the only being from everlasting and to everlasting by nature, underived, infinite, perfect, and unchangeable in power, wisdom, omniscience, omnipresence, justice, holiness, truth, goodness, and mercy. He is but one God, and yet exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and this distinction of the Thee in One is, like his other attributes, from everlasting. He is the source, owner, and ruler of all beings, foreknows and predetermines all events, and is the eternal judge and arbiter of the destiny of all. True religion has its foundation in the right knowledge of God, and consists in supremely loving and faithfully obeying him. See JESUS CHRIST, and HOLY SPIRIT.
(A.S. and Dutch God; DA Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew 'El, from a word meaning to be strong; (2) of 'Eloah, plural 'Elohim. The singular form, Eloah, is used only in poetry. The plural form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the Authorized Version by "LORD," printed in small capitals. The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps 14:1).
The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are:
(1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason.
(2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are,
(a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause.
(b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature.
(c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that "verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth."
The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex 34:6-7. (see also De 6:4; 10:17; Nu 16:22; Ex 15:11; 33:19; Isa 44:6; Hab 3:6; Ps 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are also systematically classified in Re 5:12; 7:12.
God's attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e., those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness, goodness, etc.
(See GENESIS, on Elohim and Yahweh). ELOHIM expresses the might of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. ELYON, His sublimity, (Ge 14:22), "the Most High." SHADDAI, the "Almighty," His all sufficiency (Ge 17:1; Php 4:19; 2Co 3:5; 12:9). JEHOVAH, His unchangeable faithfulness to His covenanted promises to His people. ADONAI, His lordship, which being delegated to others as also is His might as ELOHIM, ADONAI and ELOHIM are used occasionally of His creatures, angels and men in authority, judges, etc. (Ps 8:5; 97:7 (Hebrew); Ps 82:1,6-7.) "Lord" in small letters stands for Hebrew ADONAI in KJV, but in capitals ("LORD") for JEHOVAH. ELYON, SHADDAI, and JEHOVAH are never used but of GOD; Jehovah the personal God of the Jews, and of the church in particular.
ELOAH, the singular, is used only in poetry. The derivation is 'aalah "to fear," as Ge 31:42,53, "the fear of Isaac," or 'aalah "to be mighty." The plural ELOHIM: is the common form in prose and poetry, expressing that He combines in Himself all the fullness of divine perfections in their manifold powers and operations; these the heathen divided among a variety of gods. ELOHIM concentrates all the divine attributes assigned to the idols severally, and, besides those, others which corrupt man never of himself imagined, infinite love, goodness, justice, wisdom, creative power, inexhaustible riches of excellence; unity, self existence, grace, and providence are especially dwelt on, Ex 3:13-15; 15:11; 34:6-7. The plural form hints at the plurality of Persons, the singular verb implies the unity of Godhead.
The personal acts attributed to the Son (Joh 1:3; Ps 33:6; Pr 8:22-32; 30:4; Mal 3:1, the Lord the Sender being distinct from the Lord the Sent who "suddenly comes") and to the Holy Spirit respectively (Ge 1:2; Ps 104:30) prove the distinctness of the Persons. The thrice repeated "LORD" (Nu 6:25-27) and "Holy" (Isa 6:3) imply the same. But reserve was maintained while the tendency to polytheism prevailed, and as yet the redeeming and sanctifying work of the Son and the blessed Spirit was unaccomplished; when once these had been manifested the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity was fully revealed in New Testament.
The sanctions of the law are temporal rather than spiritual, because a specimen was to be given in Israel of God's present moral government. So long as they obeyed, Providence engaged national prosperity; dependent not on political rules or military spirit, as in worldly nations, but on religious faithfulness. Their sabbatical year, in which they neither tilled nor gathered, is a sample of the continued interposition of a special providence. No legislator without a real call from God would have promulgated a code which leans on the sanction of immediate and temporal divine interpositions, besides the spiritual sanctions and future retributions.
The object of this article is to give a brief sketch of the history of belief in God as gathered from the Bible. The existence of God is everywhere assumed in the sacred volume; it will not therefore be necessary here to consider the arguments adduced to show that the belief in God's existence is reasonable. It is true that in Ps 14:1; 53:1 the 'fool' (i.e. the ungodly man) says that there is no God; but the meaning doubtless is, not that the existence of God is denied, but that the 'fool' alleges that God does not concern Himself with man (see Ps 10:4).
1. Divine revelation gradual.
The names by which God makes Himself known are various.
1. El, 'the strong or mighty one.' It is often used of God, especially in Job and the Psalms. Job 5:8; Ps 22:1, etc.; and of the Lord Jesus in Isa 9:6. It is also used for the false gods, Ps 81:9; Da 11:36; and is translated 'mighty' in Ps 29:1; 82:1.
2. Eloah (Elah Chaldee), Elohim. The names most commonly used for God the Creator, the One with whom man has to do, the supreme Deity. Ge 1. (Running all through the O.T. to Mal 3:18.) These words are also applied to God's representatives, such as angels and judges. Ex 22:28; Ps 82:6; and also to false gods. Le 19:4. Elohim (which is plural, called the plural of majesty or excellency) is the word of most frequent occurrence. When it is distinctly used for the one true God the article is often added.
3. Jehovah. This is a name of relationship with men, especially with Israel, taken by God in time. It is derived from havah, 'to exist,' and may be expanded into 'who is, who was, and is to come.' God thus reveals Himself in time as the ever-existing One: that is, in Himself eternally, He is always the same: cf. Heb 1:12. The above 'relationship' may be seen in the change from Elohim, the Creator, in Gen. 1, to Jehovah Elohim in Gen. 2, when man was brought into relationship with God. Again in Ge 7:16 Elohim ordered Noah to make the ark but Jehovah shut him in. Unfortunately the name Jehovah is seldom employed in the A.V. It is generally represented by LORD (sometimes GOD) printed in small capitals.* There is a contraction of Jehovah into Jah, also translated in the A.V. by LORD, except in Ps 68:4, where Israel is exhorted to sing unto God, and "extol him by his name JAH." Jah signifies the absolute supremacy of the self-existing One; whereas Jehovah was the name made known to Israel, and on which they could count. "God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM," Ex 3:14, where the word is Ehyeh, which is from the same root as Jehovah, the Eternal existing One; He that was, and is, and the coming One.
4. Shaddai, 'the Almighty,' is another name of God, and is often so translated, especially in Job, without any other name attached. Job 6:4,14; Ps. 68: 14, etc. At times it is associated with one of the above words, and was the name by which He was especially known to the Patriarchs, as El Shaddai, God Almighty, Ex 6:3; which passage does not mean that the Patriarchs had not heard of the name of Jehovah, but that it was not the especial name for them.
5. Elyon, 'the Most High,' is another name of God, which stands alone, as in De 32:8; 2Sa 24:14; and in Da 4:17-34 (from a kindred word); or it has one of the above words added and is then 'the most high God,' Ge 14:20; or 'the LORD most high.' Ps 7:17. It is not confined to Israel, for He is "the Most High over all the earth." Ps 83:18.
6, 7. Adon and Adonai, and the plural Adonim, are all translated 'Lord'; they occur frequently, and are found in some of the following compounds:-
Adon Jehovah, Ex 23:17, the Lord GOD.
Adon Jehovah Elohim, Isa 51:22, thy Lord, the LORD, and thy God.
Adon Jehovah Sabaoth, Isa 19:4, the Lord, the LORD OF HOSTS.
Adona Jehovah, De 9:26, O Lord GOD (occurs frequently).
Adonai Jehovah Sabaoth, Jer 2:19, the Lord GOD of hosts.
El Elohim Jehovah, Jos 22:22, the LORD God of gods.
El Shaddai, Ge 28:3, etc., God Almighty.
Jah Jehovah, Isa 26:4, the LORD JEHOVAH.
Jehovah Adon, Ne 10:29, the LORD our Lord.
Jehovah Adonai, Ps 68:20, GOD the Lord.
Jehovah El, Ps 31:5, O LORD God.
Jehovah Elohim, Ge 9:26, etc., the LORD God.
Jehovah Elohim Sabaoth Adonai, Am 5:16, the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord.
Jehovah Jehovah El, Ex 34:6, the LORD, the LORD God.
Jehovah Sabaoth, Jer 46:18, the LORD of hosts.
Jehovah Sabaoth Elohim, Jer 27:4, etc., the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel.
For titles in combination with Jehovah, See JEHOVAH.
The true pronunciation of Jehovah is declared to be lost: the Jews when reading the O.T. never utter it (from a constrained interpretation of Le 24:16), but say, 'the name,' 'the great and terrible name,' etc.
In the N.T. the word ???? is constantly translated God; and ?????? is the word commonly rendered Lord. In the O.T. the latter is used by the LXX as the translation of Jehovah, so in the N.T. it often represents Jehovah, and is then mostly, if not always, without the article, as in Mt 1:20,22,24, etc. The Lord is also called 'the Almighty,' Re 1:8, etc.; and there are a few compound names as in the O.T.:
Lord Almighty, 2Co 6:18.
The characteristic name of God in the N.T. in relationship with His saints is that of FATHER: it was used anticipatively in the Lord's intercourse with His disciples, but made a reality after His resurrection, when He sent the message: "I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Joh 20:17.
THE TRINITY. In reference to this term the Father is God. Php 2:11; 1Th 1:1, etc. The Lord Jesus is God. Isa 9:6; Mt 1:23; Joh 1:1; Ro 9:5; Php 2:6; Col 2:9; 1Ti 3:16; Heb 1:8. The Holy Spirit is God: "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Ge 1:2. Ananias lied to 'the Holy Ghost,' 'unto God;' and Sapphira unto the 'Spirit of the Lord,' '/Acts/5/3/type/anderson'>Ac 5:3-4,'/Acts/9/type/anderson'>9; 'Spirit of God.' 1Co 2:11; 3:16, etc. That there are three divine Persons (if we may so express it) is plain from scripture. The Father sent the Son, and He came to earth. The Father sent the Holy Spirit, and the Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, and He came from heaven. He is a divine Person, of which there are many proofs (See HOLY SPIRIT). There is but one God.
Scripture reveals what God is in Himself, 'God is love' (used absolutely), 1Jo 4:8; and 'God is light' (used relatively, in opposition to darkness), 1Jo 1:5; and Christ is the expression of both in a Man. The principal of God's attributes and characteristics as revealed in scripture are
2. Invisibility. Col 1:15.
God's eternal power and divinity may be known in creation, Ro 1:20; but He has revealed Himself in the person of Christ, the Son, the eternal Word. God has been pleased also to reveal Himself in His written word. His purposes, His ways, and what He has done for sinful man, all demand universal reverence, adoration, and worship.
(good). Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures two chief names are used for the one true divine Being--ELOHIM, commonly translated God in our version, and JEHOVAH, translated Lord. Elohim is the plural of Eloah (in Arabic Allah); it is often used in the short form EL (a word signifying strength, as in EL-SHADDAI, God Almighty, the name by which God was specially known to the patriarchs.
The etymology is uncertain, but it is generally agreed that the primary idea is that of strength, power of effect, and that it properly describes God in that character in which he is exhibited to all men in his works, as the creator, sustainer and supreme governor of the world. The plural form of Elohim has given rise to much discussion. The fanciful idea that it referred to the trinity of persons in the Godhead hardly finds now a supporter among scholars. It is either what grammarians call the plural of majesty, or it denotes the fullness of divine strength, the sum of the powers displayed by God. Jehovah denotes specifically the one true God, whose people the Jews were, and who made them the guardians of his truth. The name is never applied to a false god, nor to any other being except one, the ANGEL-JEHOVAH who is thereby marked as one with God, and who appears again in the New Covenant as "God manifested in the flesh." Thus much is clear; but all else is beset with difficulties. At a time too early to be traced, the Jews abstained from pronouncing the name, for fear of its irreverent use. The custom is said to have been founded on a strained interpretation of
and the phrase there used, "THE NAME" (Shema), is substituted by the rabbis for the unutterable word. In reading the Scriptures they substituted for it the word ADONAI (Lord), from the translation of which by Kurios in the LXX., followed by the Vulgate, which uses Dominus, we have the LORD of our version. The substitution of the word Lord is most unhappy, for it in no way represents the meaning of the sacred name. The key to the meaning of the name is unquestionably given in God's revelation of himself to Moses by the phrase "I AM THAT I AM,"
We must connect the name Jehovah with the Hebrew substantive verb to be, with the inference that it expresses the essential, eternal, unchangeable being of Jehovah. But more, it is not the expression only, or chiefly, of an absolute truth: it is a practical revelation of God, in his essential, unchangeable relation to this chosen people, the basis of his covenant.
GOD, an immaterial, intelligent, and free Being; of perfect goodness, wisdom, and power; who made the universe, and continues to support it, as well as to govern and direct it, by his providence. Philologists have hitherto considered the word God as being of the same signification with good; and this is not denied by M. Hallenberg. But he thinks that both words originally denoted unity; and that the root is ???, unus; whence the Syriac Chad and Gada; the Arabic Ahd and Gahd; the Persic Choda and Chuda; the Greek ?????? and ?????; the Teutonic Gud; the German Gott; and our Saxon God. The other names of God, this author thinks, are referable to a similar origin.
2. By his immateriality, intelligence, and freedom, God is distinguished from Fate, Nature, Destiny, Necessity, Chance, Anima Mundi, and from all the other fictitious beings acknowledged by the Stoics, Pantheists, Spinosists, and other sorts of Atheists. The knowledge of God, his nature, attributes, word, and works, with the relations between him and his creatures, makes the subject of the extensive science called theology. In Scripture God is defined by, "I am that I am, Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and End of all things." Among philosophers, he is defined a Being of infinite perfection; or in whom there is no defect of any thing which we conceive may raise, improve, or exalt his nature. He is the First Cause, the First Being, who has existed from the beginning, has created the world, or who subsists necessarily, or of himself.
3. The plain argument, says Maclaurin, in his "Account of Sir I. Newton's Philosophical Discoveries," for the existence of the Deity, obvious to all, and carrying irresistible conviction with it, is from the evident contrivance and fitness of things for one another, which we meet with throughout all parts of the universe. There is no need of nice or subtle reasonings in this matter; a manifest contrivance immediately suggests a contriver. It strikes us like a sensation; and artful reasonings against it may puzzle us, but it is without shaking our belief. No person, for example that knows the principles of optics, and the structure of the eye, can believe that it was formed without skill in that science; or that the ear was formed without the knowledge of sounds; or that the male and female in animals were not formed for each other, and for continuing the species. All our accounts of nature are full of instances of this kind. The admirable and beautiful structure of things for final causes, exalts our idea of the Contriver; the unity of design shows him to be one. The great motions in the system performed with the same facility as the least, suggest his almighty power, which gave motion to the earth and the celestial bodies with equal ease as to the minutest particles. The subtilty of the motions and actions in the internal parts of bodies, shows that his influence penetrates the inmost recesses of things, and that he is equally active and present every where. The simplicity of the laws that prevail in the world, the excellent disposition of things, in order to obtain the best ends, and the beauty which adorns the work of nature, far superior to any thing in art, suggest his consummate wisdom. The usefulness of the whole scheme, so well contrived for the intelligent beings that enjoy it, with the internal disposition and moral structure of these beings themselves, shows his unbounded goodness. These are arguments which are sufficiently open to the views and capacities of the unlearned, while at the same time they acquire new strength and lustre from the discoveries of the learned. The Deity's acting and interposing in the universe, show that he governs as well as formed it; and the depth of his counsels, even in conducting the material universe, of which a great part surpasses our knowledge, keeps up an reward veneration and awe of this great Being, and disposes us to receive what may be otherwise revealed to us concerning him. It has been justly observed, that some of the laws of nature now known to us must have escaped us if we had wanted the sense of seeing. It may be in his power to bestow upon us other senses, of which we have at present no idea; without which it may be impossible for us to know all his works, or to have more adequate ideas of himself. In our present state, we know enough to be satisfied of our dependency upon him, and of the duty we owe to him, the Lord and Disposer of all things. He is not the object of sense; his essence, and, indeed, that of all other substances, are beyond the reach of all our discoveries; but his attributes clearly appear in his admirable works. We know that the highest conceptions we are able to form of them, are still beneath his real perfections; but his power and dominion over us, and our duty toward him, are manifest.
4. Though God has given us no innate ideas of himself, says Mr. Locke, yet, having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, he hath not left himself without a witness; since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of him as long as we carry ourselves about us, To show, therefore, that we are capable of knowing, that is, of being certain that there is a God, and how we may come by this certainty, I think we need go no farther than ourselves, and that undoubted knowledge we have of our own existence. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear perception of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If, therefore, we know there is some real Being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else. Next it is evident, that what has its being from another must also have all that which is in, and belongs to, its being from another too; all the powers it has must be owing to, and derived from, the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being, must be also the source and original of all power; and so this eternal Being must be also the most powerful. Again: man finds in himself perception and knowledge: we are certain, then, that there is not only some Being, but some knowing, intelligent Being, in the world. There was a time, then, when there was no knowing Being, or else there has been a knowing Being from eternity. If it be said there was a time when that eternal Being had no knowledge, I reply, that then it is impossible there should have ever been any knowledge; it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing Being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. Thus from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, that there is an eternal, most powerful, and knowing Being, which, whether any one will call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea, duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being. From what has been said, it is plain to me, that we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of any thing our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is any thing else without us. When I say we know, I mean, there is such a knowledge within our reach, which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that as we do to several other inquiries. It being then unavoidable for all rational creatures to conclude that something has existed from eternity, let us next see what kind of thing that must be. There are but two sorts of beings in the world that man knows or conceives; such as are purely material without sense or perception, and sensible, perceiving beings, such as we find ourselves to be. These