• Sister LoraLee

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

Updated: Sep 11


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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, "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


5 For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, abundant in loving kindness to all those who call on you.

6 Hear, Yahweh, my prayer. Listen to the voice of my petitions.

7 In the day of my trouble I will call on you, for you will answer me.

8 There is no one like you among the gods, Lord, nor any deeds like your deeds.

9 All nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord. They shall glorify your name.

10 For you are great, and do wondrous things. You are God alone.

11 Teach me your way, Yahweh. I will walk in your truth. Make my heart undivided to fear your name.

12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with my whole heart. I will glorify your name forever more.

13 For your loving kindness is great toward me. You have delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol. (Psalm 86:5–13)


4 Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one. 5 You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 These words, which I command you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4–9)


6 This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says: “I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.

7 Who is like me? Who will call, and will declare it, and set it in order for me, since I established the ancient people? Let them declare the things that are coming, and that will happen.

8 Don’t fear, neither be afraid. Haven’t I declared it to you long ago, and shown it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed, there is not. I don’t know any other Rock.”

9 Everyone who makes a carved image is vain. The things that they delight in will not profit. Their own witnesses don’t see, nor know, that they may be disappointed.

10 Who has fashioned a god, or molds an image that is profitable for nothing?

11 Behold, all his fellows will be disappointed; and the workmen are mere men. Let them all be gathered together. Let them stand up. They will fear. They will be put to shame together.

12 The blacksmith takes an ax, works in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with his strong arm. He is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is faint.

13 The carpenter stretches out a line. He marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes. He marks it out with compasses, and shapes it like the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to reside in a house.

14 He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak, and strengthens for himself one among the trees of the forest. He plants a cypress tree, and the rain nourishes it.

15 Then it will be for a man to burn; and he takes some of it, and warms himself. Yes, he burns it, and bakes bread. Yes, he makes a god, and worships it; he makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.

16 He burns part of it in the fire. With part of it, he eats meat. He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. Yes, he warms himself, and says, “Aha! I am warm. I have seen the fire.”

17 The rest of it he makes into a god, even his engraved image. He bows down to it and worships, and prays to it, and says, “Deliver me; for you are my god!”

18 They don’t know, neither do they consider: for he has shut their eyes, that they can’t see; and their hearts, that they can’t understand.

19 No one thinks, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned part of it in the fire. Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals. I have roasted meat and eaten it. Shall I make the rest of it into an abomination? Shall I bow down to a tree trunk?”

20 He feeds on ashes. A deceived heart has turned him aside; and he can’t deliver his soul, nor say, “Isn’t there a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:6–20)


1 O Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth.

2 Sing to Yahweh! Bless his name! Proclaim his salvation from day to day!

3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

4 For Yahweh is great, and greatly to be praised! He is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Yahweh made the heavens.

6 Honor and majesty are before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to Yahweh, you families of nations, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Bring an offering, and come into his courts.

9 Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns.” The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and its fullness!

12 Let the field and all that is in it exult! Then all the trees of the woods shall sing for joy

13 before Yahweh; for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, the peoples with his truth. (Psalm 96:1–13)


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.


Meditation Music Link

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