In the beginning, God was both singular & plural: בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים (bara Elohim)

It is said, the first occurrence of a word in the Bible normally explains the meaning of the word. In the first verse of Genesis, the word “God” in Hebrew, אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), is both plural and masculine. Think holy Trinity!

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.

Genesis 1:1, Tanakh

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
– Genesis 1:1

Let us parse the first 3 words of the sentence grammatically to understand the point. בְּרֵאשִׁית is a prepositional phrase meaning, “In the beginning”. בָּרָא is the conjugated masculine past tense of בְרֹא, the verb “create”. In Hebrew, typically the verb precedes the subject. Here, the subject is “God”, אֱלֹהִים .אֱלֹהִים (sometimes spelt אֱלוֹהִים) is a masculine plural noun because of the suffix ים. Considered together, grammatically, “God” is both plural and singular: plural because of the suffix ים; singular because בָּרָא has been conjugated singular and masculine, i.e. he created.

Plural and singular, at the same time. Three and one, at the same time.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
– 1 John 5:7

With regard to אֱלֹהִים, notice in Exodus 12:12 that the word is used again, although in the variant אֱלֹהִי. Here, the word refers to a plurality of gods: אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם, “gods of Egypt”.

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.”
– Exodus 12:12

As you can see, אֱלֹהִים is plural.

In Genesis 1:26, where the pronouns are expressly plural, even in English the idea of the Trinity is unmistakable.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
– Genesis 1:26

The Trinity is also in Isaiah 9:6, with the words “son”, “Father”, “God”.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:6

And furthermore, without the idea of the Trinity, Isaiah 49:6-7 would be incomprehensible.

“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.”
– Isaiah 49:6-7

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, Revelation 1:8. For us, it might be difficult to comprehend, but if it is true then it is true.

To recap, Genesis 1:1 implies, God is both singular and plural. John 1 happens to imply the same.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
– John 1:1

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
– John 1:14

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