Many Bible scholars hold that Genesis 1:26’s plural pronouns refer to angels. According to them, God used plural pronouns to demonstrate His plurality rather than singularity.
God designed humans in His image. He granted them authority over lesser creatures and ordered that they procreate and multiply.
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Usually, “Elohim” refers to gods; however, in Genesis 1:26 God uses it singularly. While some may view this as suggesting there are multiple gods, most interpret it as referring solely to God the Father due to Scripture’s clear statement that man was created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27); no other god shares these traits, so many see this as a reference to the Trinity.
However, some have suggested that Elohim is simply a plural noun with “im” appended to indicate plurality in Hebrew. This view can be supported by its usage 35 times throughout Genesis to describe God’s creative works – as is also true with other biblical words such as Cherubim in Genesis 3:24 or Job 38:7 where angels protect gardens from invasion by humans.
Problematic with this approach is that it fails to consider context when assigning meaning to words. Hebrew allows a single word to have both plural and singular usage depending on how it’s linked with another verb – for instance, when children first meet their pet they may call them puppy or kitten but as they grow and mature they might start calling it their poodle or beagle instead.
Elohim is also often joined with singular verbs when speaking of God; such as when He creates heavens and earth, judges nations with His wrath, or refers to his followers as Sons of Elohim (Genesis 4:4).
At first glance, it may be difficult to comprehend why some interpret the creation of man in God’s image and likeness as being evidence of three gods. However, it should be kept in mind that there may be different interpretations of what “elohim” really means, though most theologians agree it refers to only one entity – so those who find this interpretation strange should investigate Scripture thoroughly so they gain a fuller understanding of His words.
People often assume the God of the Bible is triune in nature, citing Old Testament references to a divine council of gods and Scripture’s statements about angels having human-like characteristics (i.e. personality, intellect, emotions and will). Yet these passages alone cannot demonstrate this doctrine as biblical; indeed the Bible teaches there is only one God.
Many Christians cite Genesis 1:26 to support their Trinity doctrine, believing it contains in embryonic form the doctrine that will later be more fully revealed throughout Scripture. But this is a misreading: Genesis 1:26 does not teach a doctrine of Trinity but merely records one Person of God speaking with another, without suggesting an intermingled Great Chain of Being as Greek thought had it, something later rejected by orthodox Christianity.
This interpretation is also problematic because it assumes that the “creeping things” mentioned in verse 2 refer to angels. But this interpretation misleads because Hebrew for “creeping things” is meh’-lek, which refers to any creature which moves along the ground, not angels. Furthermore, according to Genesis 1:26 the cherubim were placed in Eden to guard its Tree of Life; therefore they cannot possibly be who are addressed here, since these creatures were created before humans ever existed.
Genesis 1:26-27 makes clear that the “creeping things” mentioned are likely insects like spiders and scorpions which move similarly to humans. Furthermore, in Hebrew king is known as melek which denotes power, authority and position.
Finally, verse 27 refers more likely than not to Satan as opposed to any creature. Satan was the serpent that lured Eve away from God’s garden of Eden; many Old Testament passages refer to this figure as Satan or “devil,” including Psalm 82:7. Furthermore, it should be noted that in Genesis 1:26 and 2:17 God did not appear as triune but singular being.
The Angelic Host
Prior to God creating humans, He communicated with His angelic host. Some Bible scholars speculate that these celestial beings had some role in creating humanity; however, such interpretation is unsupported by scripture or by other arguments against it; angels do not share equal status with humans and have different needs than humans do.
As can be seen from their scripture counterparts, angels in the bible do not form a centralized entity. Instead, God delegates responsibilities and authority through various channels – Gabriel was sent specifically to answer Daniel’s prayers, with authority granted him by him alone to act on Daniel’s behalf. Thus it can be concluded that while these angelic beings do not form an organized body they still posses tremendous powers given over by Him.
Note that “host” in Genesis 1:26 refers to a large group of beings. When coupled with “heavenly,” this can be understood to mean an army of angelic beings arranged in rank and orderliness – such as an army created by God to carry out His will. The term encompasses both holy and unholy angels who operate under its auspices.
One reason that some believe angelic hosts were involved in creating man is due to what the Bible describes: Satan deceiving Eve into eating forbidden fruit and tempting her to do so, which shows that angels cannot easily interact with human beings; however, Job 38:7 clearly mentions angels existing prior to man being created.
It is an intriguing thought, and it is certainly possible that one or more of these beings had something to do with creating man. However, it must be remembered that this passage from Scripture speaks of one true God alone who created man in His image and likeness.
The Human Race
Humanity stands out as God’s most extraordinary creation, made in his image and given dominion over Earth. Though there may be disagreement over some aspects of its origins, one thing remains undeniable: Man is truly one of His special works.
Humans enjoy an extraordinary relationship with God that allows us to communicate and participate in His divine nature and destiny. While other creations only communicate one-sidedly with Him, people are capable of conversing directly with Him as well.
Because humans are the only race able to understand God and respond to his invites, they are uniquely qualified to comprehend him and follow His orders. But it must be remembered that He cannot tolerate evil in His presence and so He commanded us all to follow and obey Him in all matters.
The Bible records several instances when God revealed Himself to humanity. These include Adam and Eve in Eden (Gen 3:9-19); Cain in Hebron (Gen 4:11-15); Noah with his family and animals (Gen 6:13, 7:1-8, 9:1-5); Abraham and Sarah as well as twice to Hagar who gave birth to Ishmael in Genesis 16 (vv 14-16).
When Isaiah saw God’s throne, it was “surrounded by myriads of angels who were serving him” (Exod 25:29). Ezekiel recounted a vision in which it was surrounded by stormy clouds and ceaseless fire – including four living creatures with wings enabling them to move without turning around it – Ezekiel identified these beings as Cherubim (saints).
Genesis 1:26-21 suggests that when God uses the plural form of “God”, He is probably alluding to His angelic host. This fits well with other parts of Scripture which refer to multiple interpretations of Him or of His creations; further, this interpretation fits well with its monotheistic message as Trinity doctrine was not part of Old Testament texts but was introduced during New Testament writings.