HomeOpinion & AnalysisGod’s one plural reference at creation

God’s one plural reference at creation

Sunday word BY PROSPER TINGINI

In Genesis is the story of God’s creations of the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1-31 tells us how the earth was without form and an empty space. There was darkness upon the vast expanse of the waters and of all the universe. It is written that the Spirit of God (or wind) was moving over the face of the waters. This would indicate that there should have been only one entity over that universe, ie, the spirit of God alone.

The first day of God’s creations was of the light (Genesis 1:3). The light was called day and the darkness was called night. God was clearly working as a single being. It is written: And God said, “Let there be light.” It would appear that most of the expanse of the universe around earth was covered in waters as it is written: And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

The commands were coming from one source who was seemingly working alone. Into the third day, God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land earth and the waters that were gathered together He called seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so.
Again the command was in singular form, coming from a single source with no mention of other beings around it.

On the fourth day God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let there be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night, and He made the stars also. Everything was evolving around God alone with no mention of any other spiritual being around Him.

On the fifth day, He proceeded with His creations, alone. God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the Heavens.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swam, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God blessed them, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let the birds multiply on the earth.” Again God was singularly in charge of everything, issuing commands as a one and only being.

On the first portion of the sixth day God created the rest of the earthly creatures. In verse 24 God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creatures and according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

The final part of God’s creation was that of man. He now speaks in plural, now using the “we” as if to imply He was now speaking with a collective voice with other beings or a being in close proximity to Him. Unless there was a grammatical error from the outset, it certainly is clear that God was now speaking in unison with another or other entities similar in nature to Him.

Genesis 1:26-27 reads: Then 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 birds of the air, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them (end of quote). Who are the other “let us” or the “in our image” and the “after our likeness”? It should be clear that for the first time God was speaking in the plural when it came to the creation of man, as if acting in common understanding with another or other beings having or with particular similarities to Him. Man was thus to be created in the image of God and that of the other or others.

This one plural reference at the creation of man has caused a lot of various interpretations to the text with people ascribing it to suit their own beliefs. Being a Christian, I have attended many sermons which imply that the other person being mentioned in the equation was in fact Jesus Christ. It seems that view is gaining momentum within some sections of our Christianity. It’s then not surprising that some of the denominations go on to claim that Jesus Christ partook in all the creations mentioned above.

There is a universal agreement that God is a spiritual being that has never been seen in the human form. Yet others would argue that God in fact appeared in the human form through the body of Christ. That would imply that Jesus Christ was a reincarnation of the heavenly Father, in the human form.

Christ’s dates of birth, death and resurrection are recorded to have occurred slightly over

2 000 years ago and archaeology point to creations having happened at least a million years ago. The link to the “in our image” or the “let us” reference to Christ would in essence mean Christ pre-dated human creation. I find it hard to subscribe to that line of thinking.

Another theory on God’s use of the plural words is that He was most likely speaking with His angel or angels. Angels are assumed to be God’s divine messengers. They attend to His spirit and are themselves created in the likeness of God, communication with Him and being sent on missions on His behalf. At man’s creation, the angels had already been created in the spiritual realm (heaven) and thus were already in close proximity with God. At what junction God created His angels would then be the question.

I want to put my weight behind the theory of angels. I would say that definitely at the very first day of creations to the fifth day, His words were singular. He was speaking as one and as alone. He started creating all the other living things before He created man from the fifth day to the sixth. It’s a fact that living things have both a body and a soul. However, God could most likely also have created other beings in the Heavens, and in the spiritual form, whom He could in fact speak to and make use of.

Prosper Tingini is the president of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: ptingini@gmail.com

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