• Sister LoraLee

Is God Singular or Plural? (Y1.T1.D4)

Updated: Feb 17


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This is a hotly debated topic within religious circles. When I typed “Trinity” into Google today, over 329 million results came up.


My goal is not to join the debate—I will leave that to the theologians and apologists. The intent of The Mosaic Bible Experience is to help those who are interested in reading the entire Bible.


So why mention it at all?


Because the idea of a God who is both singular and plural does present itself in the 66 books of the biblical canon.


Genesis chapter 1 documents how God said, "Let's make man in our image, after our likeness" (v26). God, normally a singular proper noun, makes “man,” also a singular noun. But don’t miss the other pronouns in that short verse. God says, “Let’s (a plural possessive contracted from “Let us”) make man in ‘our’ image, after ‘our’ likeness.


In yesterday's post, we discovered that God of the Bible is one. So who is God talking to? Who are the others in this "us" and "our" reference?


The answer is found in the Gospel of John as he introduces Jesus, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him, nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1–3)


I don’t know how this is possible. My finite brain cannot comprehend the infinite. God’s complexity expands beyond what I know of love (1 John 4:16) or time (Psalm 90:4) or his singular and plural nature.


It’s like what Larry Libby wrote in his children’s book Who Made God?:


Imagine you made up a word that no one in the whole wide world has ever said or even thought. One day you write your word on a piece of paper, and a pesky little neighbor kid picks up the paper, learns your word, and starts blabbing it all over the place. Before long, everyone starts using it. Your word would not be so special anymore, would it? That is a little like how I feel when I say, “God is awesome.”


“Awesome” used to be a strong word, but it doesn’t mean anything special anymore. One person says, “I had an awesome hamburger for lunch.” Another says, “I wore my awesome sneakers to school.”


But “awesome” is still a special word when we use it to describe God. It means “full of awe.” It’s the feeling we get when we see something or someone bigger, brighter, greater, deeper, higher, stronger, or finer than anything or anyone we’ve ever seen before.


The full-of-awe God who created the heavens and the earth is both singular and plural.


Let's Read the Evidence


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him. Without him, nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1–3)


1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.


3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.


6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky”. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.


9 God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear;” and it was so. 10 God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering together of the waters he called “seas”. God saw that it was good. 11 God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth;” and it was so. 12 The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.


14 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs to mark seasons, days, and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth;” and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light to the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.


20 God said, “Let the waters abound with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.” 21 God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.


24 God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;” and it was so. 25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:1–25)


4a This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created,(Genesis 2:4a)


1 The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows his handiwork. 2 Day after day they pour out speech, and night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice has gone out through all the earth, their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his room, like a strong man rejoicing to run his course. 6 His going out is from the end of the heavens, his circuit to its ends. There is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 Yahweh’s law is perfect, restoring the soul. Yahweh’s covenant is sure, making wise the simple. 8 Yahweh’s precepts are right, rejoicing the heart. Yahweh’s commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever. Yahweh’s ordinances are true, and righteous altogether. 10 They are more to be desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the extract of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover your servant is warned by them. In keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive me from hidden errors.

13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I will be upright. I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Yahweh, my rock, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:1–14)


Meditation Moment


Dear God,


I’m honored to be in Your presence. Thank You for revealing Yourself to me as a loving father, as my Savior, and Comforter. It is impossible to fully comprehend all that You are, but I’m grateful for the lifetime You’ve given me to learn. Show me the beauty existing in all creation including myself (Psalm 139:14). Let the words of my mouth be pleasing to You. Help the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. You are my strength! You are my redeemer! You are my Lord (Psalm 19:14)!


Amen.


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