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  • Alan Salwei

Genesis 1:26-27, 3:22 - Divine Pronouns

God's Triune nature is revealed in His plural pronouns.



 

Genesis 1:26–27 (NIV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”


27 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.


Genesis 3:22 (NIV)

22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity


All these things we know

from the testimonies of Holy Scripture

as well as from the effects of the persons,

especially from those we feel within ourselves.


The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures,

which teach us to believe in this Holy Trinity,

are written in many places of the Old Testament,

which need not be enumerated

but only chosen with discretion.


It appears from what God says as He creates man

that there is a plurality of persons

within the Deity,

when he says,

“Let us make man in our image”—

and afterwards he indicates the unity

when he says,

“God created.”

 

Dig Deeper


Maybe you've noticed as you read through the Bible that you do not find the word Trinity. However, what can be found in scripture are all sorts of instances that point to the doctrine of the Trinity.


Sometimes the Council of Nicaea, which met in 325 A.D. and drafted the Nicene Creed, is errantly said to have invented the doctrine of the Trinity. This council met in response to a heresy which was denying the divinity of Christ, saying that Jesus was simply part of the created order.


While this council formally dealt with questions around the Trinity, they certainly did not invent this doctrine. The doctrine of the Trinity existed long before the Council of Nicaea, as it has always been the traditional understanding of the Church. It wasn’t until a debate arose in the Church of Alexandria around heretical teachings regarding the nature of Christ that the need to formally write down these matters of doctrine became apparent.


Summary


We start off this week with two examples of plural pronouns being used for God in the Book of Genesis. In Genesis 1:26, God says “let us make mankind in our image”. The plurality of this language points to the three persons of the Trinity. Likewise in Genesis 3:22, God says, “Behold, the man has become like one of us”. Here we again find God speaking of himself using a pronoun that is plural.


While it is unlikely that Moses understood the doctrine of the Trinity when writing the Book of Genesis, we know that the Holy Spirit inspired the words Moses wrote down. Moses would not have known the details surrounding God’s plan of salvation that are revealed in the New Testament, and he might have even had another meaning in mind as he wrote various passages. Some have concluded the plurality of these passages indicate that perhaps Moses was using a plural pronoun to speak to the majesty of God, or maybe thought God was speaking of himself and all the heavenly hosts.


Regardless of Moses’ intent, we cannot overlook the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on the writing of scripture. These plural pronouns speak to the persons of the Trinity which are confirmed throughout the Word of God. If these were the only verses that spoke to the persons of the Trinity, the argument for this doctrine would be somewhat weak.


However, that is not the case. Our understanding of the Trinity does not come from these passages alone, but from the entirety of scripture. These early examples from the Old Testament work alongside other teachings of scripture to form our understanding of our triune God.




  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Triune God, who created us in His image that we might rule over His creation;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that even though God's image in us has been tarnished by our sin, that you will strive to recognize it in yourself and others, so that you act accordingly;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Hebrews 2

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